Is Africa’s Mountain Gorilla Trekking Safe & Responsible ?

While Africa is well known for her deadliest predators like lions and hyenas, gorillas are not dangerous because most of the gorillas trekked have been habituated and are very familiar with humans hence you should get it right that gorillas are not dangerous.

Before you are allowed to trek gorillas, you will firstly be taken through safety precautions that include rules and regulations of trekking and the code of conduct while you are with gorillas. This can help minimize your fear and nervousness and get you ready to encounter them fearlessly. Trips to see gorillas are always guided by experienced guides who are accompanied by rangers armed with AK 47 machine guns hence you are safe deep in the forest. Guides will lead a small group of people into the forest to find a group of habituated gorillas even though gorillas are still wild animals but overall the trekking experience is safe.

Once you reach gorillas it’s very exciting to watch adults feeding, grooming and resting as the young ones play and swing over trees in an amusing way.

Even though gorillas have been habituated, sometimes when humans interfere with their daily activities they can charge just like humans do when annoyed. However it should never scare you to trek because guides will always tell what to do in case it happens. Some of the scaring behaviors a male silverback might do include beating the chest or making alerting sounds. In such a circumstance, your guide will tell you to turn away or crouch down or step backwards at a slow pace and once you do this gorillas will realize that you are not a threat to them and things will be normal.

Therefor gorilla trekking and meeting gorillas in the wild is not a threat to trekkers because they have been familiarized with humans, therefore feel comfortable to trek gorillas as your closest vegetarian cousin in the jungles.

On a sad not, mountain gorillas are susceptible to human diseases and secondary the threat of poaching and encroachment on their habitat are among serious factors that puts their life at the verge of extinction. Unfortunately gorilla habitat range is surrounded by dense populations of people which further subject them to threat, good enough the film Virunga painted such growing threats and the best to conserve their habitat and ecosystems.