Are gorillas dangerous animals?
Are gorillas dangerous animals? : Gorillas are such great revenue earners for most west, central and east African countries in which they are found. Most tourists trekking these great apes are often met with the question of ‘how dangerous are gorillas?’ This is a common question that most visitors ask before embarking on a gorilla trekking safari in Africa. Well! I would affirm that these endangered gorilla species are dangerous to be around, and neither would I disregard the fact that gorillas can be aggressive to human beings when provoked.
Gorillas are generally known to be gentle, peaceful and friend primates, and that the mere fact that they share 98% of their DNA with human beings only proves that they are more like us. Gorillas are social animals and only become aggressive towards humans when they feel threatened.
Although there have been close encounters between gorillas and humans over the past decades, very minimal of these incidents have led to death of a human being. A 2012 review of gorilla-human conflict shows only three incidents of gorilla attacks before the year 2000. Most primatologists and conservationists have confirmed that gorillas are in fact not dangerous animals, unless they feel under threat. When a gorilla thinks it is in danger, it will first make threats. If a person chooses to ignore the gorilla’s threat display or gets in its way, it may respond by thumping, scratching, barking, biting or even charging at the individual.
Ian Redmond, a primatologist who worked closely with Dian Fossey in Rwanda for three years in the 1970s, said that there have been reported cases of gorillas attacking and even killing humans, but such incidents are rare and in most cases humans were always to blame.
A 2009 report on human-wildlife conflict documented how a silverback gorilla attacked a poacher in Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in Cameroon. The gorilla attacked the man as he was setting up traps. Other conflicts between humans and apes have been reported in Bwindi impenetrable national park, but only because the gorillas raided the crop fields of local people living near the national park. However, there were no fatal encounters recorded.
It is important for visitors to be briefed on the proper way to treat gorillas and how exactly we should behave when in their presence. It is very possible for humans to encounter a group of gorillas, and come out totally unharmed.
Tourists who are going to trek gorillas either in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo are usually first briefed on the rules and regulations of trekking gorillas. It is very crucial that trekkers follow these guidelines to the dot, in order to avoid any incidences where one might aggravate the gorillas.
Gorillas in the wild are not so dangerous especially if they have been habituated. Gorilla habituation is a long process which may take between 2-3 years to successfully get a gorilla used to humans. However, habituated gorillas are friendly and used to humans, given that they spend quite a long time with researchers, guides and animal behaviorists. Countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are well known to have quite a number of habituated gorilla groups which visitors can track on any given day.
In case you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where a gorilla is charging at you, remain calm, crouch down and above all, avoid making eye contact. Once you follow these few steps, you will have high chances of escaping the bad ordeal.
Best Places to trek gorillas in the world?
The best places that a visitor would want to go and see gorillas in the wild include: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo. However, visitors may choose to trek gorillas in other countries such as; Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Congo Brazzaville and the Central African Republic.
How much does it cost to trek gorillas?
Tourists who want to trek gorillas can do so at a fee of USD 600 dollars in Uganda, USD 1500 dollars for a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit and USD 400 dollars for a trekking permit in Congo. However, visitors planning to trek gorillas in Uganda should know that from 1st July 2020, the price of gorilla trekking permits will increase to USD 700 dollars per person.
Best Time to visit gorillas.
The Best time for any visitor to trek gorillas is during the peak seasons. The peak season is usually characterized by long dry months, which will make it easier for one to hike in the forests while tracking gorillas. The peak seasons occur in the months of January, February, June, July, August, September and December.
In conclusion, visitors should always remember that gorillas are territorial animals and therefore will do everything possible to defend their territory, especially the silverbacks. When trekking gorillas in the forest, always keep in mind that you are in their territory and give them the due respect they deserve. Do this and you will be sure to enjoy spending quality time with these amazing and majestic creatures.