Feeding of Gorillas

Feeding of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas- Diet of the primates in Kahuzi biega national park. 

A Comparison of the gorilla’s population in 1990 shows that a number of individuals has increased slightly as a consequence of great effort made towards their protection.at the same time the average group size has gone down. Gorillas have actually become concentrated more in the mountainous part of the park.

Transfers of females between different groups as well as to previously solitary males have become more frequent. The gorillas prefer the forest to the vast open areas on the summit. They find their essential food stuffs in its dense understory whereas the western lowland gorillas prefer fruits, those in the eastern lowland feed mainly on the leaves ,fruits, roots, stems and pith of herbaceous, lianas. Bamboo and part of saplings. Gorillas living in the world have never been observed to eat meat.

The food stuffs of the eastern lowland gorillas are distributed uniformly over their habitants. This is why they don’t defend a special territory but go on daily humbly of about 1km under the leadership of the silverback. The search for the food occupies almost half of the day, at noon they rest for 1-2 hours.

In the course of the year one group needs an area of approximately 35km .the territory of different groups sometimes overlap, if 2 groups meet fight between the dominant male are almost inevitable. Occasionally, young female seizes the opportunity to switch groups.

Plant life form species Part eaten Geographical distribution and altitude Forest type
liana Urera sp. Leaves bark, Kahuzi(1800-3000m) Mountain forest
Grass species Cyperus sp.

Pennisetum

Purpureum

Leaves pith
trees Grewia coriacea

Musanga cercropiodes

Pycnanthus angolensis

Fruit Itebero(600-1200m) Rain forest of the plain

 

Herbacecous plants Afromomum sp.

Ensente ventricosum constus sp.

marantaceae

Fruits leaves stems

In the rain season the gorillas restrict their ranging to the natural bamboo forests of the Kahuzi biega national park. The young bamboos growths constitute their main food during this time of the year.

In the tropical primary forest around itebero, the pith of herbaceous plants of the zingibereceae, marantaceae makes up an important percentage of their food. As many as 44 species are represented in their diet. When they feed the animals are usually spread out than when they rest or sleep. This is considered a definite sign of intra – specific feeding competitions, every evening the gorillas build nests in which they spend their nights. These individuals resting places allow for quite accurate estimate of the group composition. Most often they are built on the group, spread out in such a way that most of the group members can see each other. The centre is reserved for the silverback, while young up to the age of 3 years in the vicinity of their mothers, sometimes the gorillas sleep in the top of a dense bush; this depends on which type of vegetation is most common where they happen to spend the night. Sometimes they defecate into their nest but the eastern lowland gorillas can make shit in their nest and its why they believe that they are totally different from the Mountain Gorillas found In the Virunga massif and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park In Uganda.

In the Kahuzi biega national park four gorilla groups of the eastern lowland gorillas are habituated and open for gorilla trekking and they are used to human watching. Their leading silver back are well known , their groups are names after them  and they include the Bonnani, Chimanuka ,Mugaluka, Mpungwe  out of the 12 gorilla families and book the gorilla tour to kahuzi biega national park for the 3 Days Eastern Lowland Gorilla tour.

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