Mountain gorillas are tremendously social, and dwell in comparatively stable, united groups of about 12 animals. These comprise of one or more dominant silverback males. Amonge these include the blackback males as well as females who are juveniles along with their infants. The Mountain gorillas have a long standing relationship between the adult males and females. Stewart and Harcourt in 1987 did research and discovered that the relationship between the females were fairly weak. These are not defensive compared to the silverback that protects its members rather than its province. In the Virunga Mountain Gorillas, the normal length of occupancy for a dominant silverback is 4.7 years stated by Robbins in 1995.
61% of the members are made up of one adult male along with many females, 36% posses more of one adult male. The surviving gorillas are either solely male groups or loan males however composed of one mature male with a few males mentioned by Harcourt 1988.The gorilla families vary from five to thirty with a minimum of ten individuals. A distinctive group contains; one dominant silverback, three to four mature females, one or two blackbacks,four to six juveniles and infants (Fossey 1983)
Majority of the males and close to 60% of females depart from their biological group. Males usually leave the group when they are 11 years old although the separation procedure is quite slow. Most of their time is spent on the limit of the group until when they depart as a group (Lindsey and Sorin 2001).Some move alone and others travel as male groups for about 2 to 5 years until they attract females to join them. Females leave the group when they are 8 years, some start a new group with one male and others join the already set up group. Females most times move to the new group prior to settling down with a silverback male (Watts 1990)
It’s acknowledged that the dominant silverback often determines the movement of the group. He ensures that the group is taken to the best spot for feeding and resting throughout the year. He settles conflicts and safeguards the group from external danger. Knowledgeable silverbacks are competent of disorganizing poachers’ traps to protect its group members. (Regenwald Direkthilfe & Berggorilla).He spares time to play with the young ones and when it’s resting time, all would love to be closer to the silverback. Just in case the mother dies or decides to depart from the group, the silverback normally looks after the younger ones, these get a chance to rest in his nest (Stewart 2001).Something that you must know about the mountain gorillas is that they have a quiet and peaceful life. If you get a chance to spot a group, you will see them laugh, chew leaves, playing and the mothers feeding their younger ones.
Are Gorillas Aggressive?
Conflicts and brutal violence is unheard of in steady groups. Severe aggression may occur at an event when an intruder confronts a silverback over control of the group. However it’s simple to observe how the gorillas attained their status of fearful jungle creature. When its chest beat, it displays its behavioral practices destined to frighten.Nevertheless, when two mountain gorilla groups converge, the major silverback may engage in a fight using their canines to cause injuries (Fossey 1983).
Therefore, conflicts are resolved by show offs and other dangerous behaviors that are meant to frighten without harming any one. The ritualized accuse show is distinct to gorillas. The whole series has nine steps: (1) thumping the ground with palms to end show, (2)Chest-beating with cupped hands, (3)Sideways running, two-legged to four-legged, (4) One leg kick, (5)slapping and tearing vegetation, (6)Symbolic feeding, (7)Rising bipedally,(8)throwing vegetation, and (9)Hooting slow to fast (Maple and Hoff 1982)
The gorillas usually rest during midday and this helps them to bond as a group. Communal up bringing is the best way to have these gorillas stay as a group. Female gorillas play an important role of grooming their younger ones. They often play and through this way, they learn to associate and with the other group members. Among the activities done include somersaults, chasing and wrestling. The silverback sometimes plays with his females.
Gorillas have about 25 different languages of which some are used by the group as they communicate in the impenetrable forest. Sounds categorized as barks and grunts are heard while trekking in the wilderness. This simply means that the gorillas are easily spotted within the area. When it comes to discipline, they will roar and scream as a sign of warning made often by the silverback. Rumbling belches deep indicate pleasure and are heard often during resting and feeding time.
Sometimes, these gorillas go out of hand and you will see them charge. They show their teeth and scream to the outsider if not to the group members. Their actions are destined to serve as caution and prevent any kind of fight. There are so many ways gorillas can communicate and these include gestures, postures, sounds and facial expressions. The male gorillas have a typical chest beating which simply displays stature, stop fights and scare off opponents. To realize that the gorillas are frightened, they make loud sounds, roars and screams. The best way for the gorillas to communicate is through Facial expressions. If you spot a gorilla’s both upper and lower teeth, it means it’s aggressive and therefore avoid being close. Clenched teeth with month closed means anger.
The best sound made by the group is when they are feeding or resting.30% of the time is spent feeding, 40%resting, 30%moving.In the evening, they get ready to settle down and rest in the nests made through the vegetation. The nests are made by bamboo sticks, soft trees and broad are used as a blanket during the cold. Mothers try to find a comfortable area where to feed their younger ones
Mothers find a comfortable spot where their backs will be supported as they breast feed and cuddle their babies for the night.