Reasons why gorillas in Bwindi can charge
Reasons why gorillas in Bwindi can charge: Mountain gorillas are found in four national parks in the whole world among which include Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The national park is located in the southwestern part of the country comprising of thick tropical rainforest. Bwindi is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas with 19 fully habituated mountain gorillas and 2 semi-habituated mountain gorillas.
Most travelers intending to encounter mountain gorillas think about their safety around these apes and for this reason, they do a lot of research about mountain gorillas before buying the gorilla permits to be part of the gorilla trekking experience. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves trekkers being around mountain gorillas for 1 hour.
Even though mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park are first habituated for 2-3 years to get used to human presence before being open for gorilla trekking, mountain gorillas can sometimes turn hostile if proved. Bwindi gorillas charge for different reasons which we are going to look at below.
Some of the reasons why Bwindi gorillas can charge
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi charge if they had taken some time without being visited by trekkers. An example, during the COVID 19 period no tourists were allowed to trek mountain gorillas till when the virus was reduced. The mountain gorillas took long to get trekked and when the trekking began, for those that were not frequently trekked rangers can charge when trekkers get around them.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when a silver back from a different group is trying to grab away some of the group members. Silverbacks especially those with a few group members are always finding ways of stealing members from already habituated gorilla families and during the process there are always fights between the silverbacks and the one that has a lot of energy wins. Other apes charge in the whole process.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when trekkers make unnecessary moves while around them. The mountain gorillas can think that maybe these people want to harm them and they will charge they scare them so that they run away and leave them.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when a wild mountain gorilla comes to take over a habituated group. When a wild mountain gorilla wants to take over the group, there are always fights between the dominating silver back and the wild gorillas and this makes other Apes charge.
6 in Bwindi can charge when you get so close to them. You must keep a distance of about 7 meters from these mountain gorillas as taught by the park wardens at the briefing center. When you get close to mountain gorillas, they think you are going to harm them and for that matter they react by charging.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when they see you putting on shining clothes. They are likely to charge if they see shouting colors such as yellow.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge if you look directly in their eyes because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Trekkers are taught by the park wardens at the briefing center to try as much as they can not to look directly in the eyes of the mountain gorillas.
These Apes can charge when you visit them in big numbers. A maximum of 8 people is allowed to trek a single habituated mountain gorilla family and 4 trekkers can visit a semi-habituated mountain gorilla family. When the nu8mber is too big, the mountain gorillas get uncomfortable thinking you are going to harm them and this makes them charge.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when you make noise around them and this because they feel uncomfortable. Trekkers must keep their voices low around these mountain gorillas but they can steal and ask their ranger guides different questions about these giant apes.
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi can charge when you use a camera that has a flash to take pictures. The flashlights scare the mountain gorillas or threaten the mountain gorillas making them charge. During the briefing or even before the tour starts, your tour operator will tell you to carry a camera that has no flashlight.
One of the reasons gorillas in Bwindi charge when they have been just habituated and are not fully used to human beings around them. It’s for this reason that most mountain gorilla families must pass the mocking stage to be open for trekking activities and this is normally 2-3 years.
What to do when these Apes charge
For different reasons like seen above, mountain gorillas in Bwindi and other national parks can charge while you are still around them. There are different things you can do when these apes charge to save your life and that of mountain gorillas because they can even harm you.
Trekkers are advised not to panic when they charge but they should instead stay calm and lower down for mountain gorillas to feel like they have won the battle. Trekkers shouldn’t run when these apes charge but should instead stay in one place, go on four legs like mountain gorillas and try eating greens like them. When they charge, armed ranger guides will always be around you to guide you on what to do.
With all being said, trekkers should fear but rather know that mountain gorillas are very peaceful primates that are in most cases fully habituated and can be around people for a certain period of time which is 1 hour. Mountain gorillas are very peaceful animals that are used to human presence and it’s very rare for them to charge uncles if provoked.
For mountain gorillas not to charge, trekkers must keep rules and regulations of the trekking activities and these are taught by the armed ranger guides at the briefing center. Rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity include the following
Trekkers must keep their voices low while searching for mountain gorillas, when they are around mountain gorillas, and when they are leaving the jungle
Cameras that have flashlights are not used to picture mountain gorillas
Trekkers must avoid direct eye contact with the mountain gorillas
Trekkers should avoid wearing bright colored clothes such as yellow when going for mountain gorillas
Trekkers should keep a distance of 7 meters away from mountain gorillas
While around mountain gorillas, you need to keep voices very low
Touching mountain gorillas is not allowed