What to do if a mountain gorilla charges at you? – Gorilla trekking essentials for Uganda and Rwanda – Gorilla permits booking
What to do if a mountain gorilla charges at you? – Mountain Gorillas are the largest primate species and they live in groups and are known to be peaceful, calm and they are not aggressive when you encounter them. They have a charming character that makes it interesting to look at and that’s why many tourists travelling to Africa would love to take part in Gorilla tracking experience. During Gorilla tracking, if the Gorilla charges, all you need to do is to simply follow the instructions given to you during the briefing or your ranger guide will direct you on what to do in order to be on the safer side putting in mind that the Gorillas are peaceful and not so aggressive. Mountain Gorillas in Africa, can be found in four National Parks in tree East African countries which include; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park both located in South-Western Uganda offer the best site for Gorilla tracking with over half of the world’s population of Gorillas living in the dense forest of Bwindi National Park, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain Gorillas live in the dense tropical rainforests or in areas with high altitude in Africa. They mainly live in groups of two to 30 members and the group is led by a male silverback as the leader of the family and he offers protection and looks after the females and the young ones in his family. He determines the feeding time, place to stay for the family and protect them from any cause of danger. The Gorillas are herbivores animals and they feed on plants, leaves, roots, stems fruits among others.
Gorilla tracking in Africa has become one of the popular activities that have drawn many visitors to East Africa. Gorilla tracking involves moving in the forest led by the ranger guide who will help guide you, offer instructions and also locate the Mountain Gorillas for you. The movement, involves searching for the habituated Gorilla families in their natural habitat, and when you have found a given Gorilla family, visitors will be allowed strictly one hour with these huge apes from the time you meet them, but the normal exercise can lasts from 30 min to 7 hours of the day depending on the location of the Gorillas on that particular day putting in mind that Gorillas are wild animals with territories and they move from one place to another.
What to do if a mountain gorilla charges at you? – During Gorilla tracking, you cannot predict how the Gorillas will be when you encounter them, when you reach them, you might find that the Gorillas are in a bad mood or even they may think that it’s a threat to them. And when they detect danger, the Gorillas can charge and react by making loud grunts, hoots, buoys by its self, stand on two legs and bound its chest. And when the threat persists, the leader of the group that is the Silverback will grasp anything and tears it down to show that he is ready for anything and he is willing to protect the family from any cause of harm.
There are several reasons that may cause a Gorilla to charge such as loud noise in the forest from the travelers during the Gorilla walk, the Gorillas may feel threatened, direct eye contact with the Gorillas, sudden movements while in the presence of the Gorillas and others may cause the Gorillas to charge in order to protect the family from strangers or poachers that may be attacking the family. They can also charge when they are fighting for female trying to win females in to his group, or when their two silver backs in the group, they may not allow to share so they fight when one wants to break away from the family since the family cannot have two leaders and the fight determines the winner who will take over the family and the challenged Gorilla, will go away to a form his new family group.
What to do if a mountain gorilla charges at you? – There are few cases of Gorillas attacking visitors during Gorilla tracking in the forest. When you have followed all the rules and the regulations for Gorilla tracking given to you by the rangers such as keeping your voices low while in the forest, avoid feeding animals, avoid direct eye contact with the Gorillas, when taking photos, avoid direct flash lights from the camera, not raising arms in front of charged a Gorilla, keeping a distance of 7 meters away from the Gorillas, do not wonder in the forest at wee hours, keep in your groups and don’t break off from the group and others. When all these instructions are followed closely you are assured of a successful Gorilla tracking adventure with no any attack in the forest.
Mountain Gorillas are strong primates and the Silverback will do anything to defend and protect his family from any cause of threat that may cause harm. Therefore, in case the Gorilla charges, visitors taking part in these exercise will follow the instructions given to them or listen to the instructions from your ranger guide who will then direct you on what to do if a mountain gorilla charges at them..
Walk away steadily
When the Gorilla charges, you are not supposed to run away from the Gorilla this is because, it will run after you and will attack you, but instead, you are advised to walk away from the charged Gorilla taking one step after the other without making any sudden movement to create the distance between you and the Gorilla. It will cool down and walk away from you. You can even fall down or keep relaxed or looking up at trees to show that you are defeated and you do not want to attack them.
For a charged Gorilla, it’s advisable to calm down, keep quiet, and unthreatened you can even bend down to show respect and unwillingness to attack the Gorillas. You can lower down on the group making yourself smaller than the Silverback. This is the reason to show that you are not a challenger and you don’t mean any harm to them so it will cool down and will not attack you.
Follow the instruction as per the briefing
Before you embark on Gorilla tracking in the forest, travellers are briefed at the starting point at the park offices, you will be reminded on the dos and the don’ts while you are with the Gorillas. You will be led by a ranger guide since they spend number of times visiting the Gorillas so they are well aware of the moods and when the Gorillas are irritated. Therefore, the guide will direct/instruct you on how to behave in case the Gorillas becomes wild in the presence of the visitors. And in case the Gorilla charges, the guide will instruct you on what to do so all you need to do if you do not know what to do, ask your guide and will instruct you throughout the process.
Never look directly in to the eye of the Gorillas
In case the Gorilla charges do not look directly in to its eyes, if you do, this shows that you are ready to challenge the Gorilla therefore; these will force the Gorilla to attack you as a way of defending itself. Rather pretend not to show any interest in them and mind your own work and a void direct contact with the Gorillas it will walk away from you.
Show your teeth and shout back
In case you are very close to the charged Gorilla with no chance of stepping back, you can defend yourself by showing it the your teeth and shouting back to the charged Gorilla, this is a way you can defend yourself and even thumping your chest just like Gorillas do when they have charged. When you shout, the Gorilla feels scared and will walk thinking that you area another wild Gorilla.
Keep a distance during Gorilla Trekking?
Visitors are advised to keep 7 meters away from the Gorillas when you meet them in their natural habitat. Visitors are not allowed to touch the Gorillas since they are wild animals except for the case when the Gorilla touches you. When you touch them, they will feel threatened and may be forced to attack you as a way of defending it