Why only silverback gorilla is accepted by female gorillas?

Silverback gorilla from Rwanda Volcanoes National Park.

Silverback gorillia


When a male gorilla is about 14 years old, the back turns white like silver.

He is then considered the leader of the group. It is only the silverback that mates with all the female gorillas. Younger ones who try are immediately dismissed!

However, if a rival manages to kill the silverback, he also kills all the offspring.

Then, the new leader takes over and produces offspring with the females in the group.

A mature silverback gorillia is huge and weighs about 450 pounds [200 kg]! Actually, eating is a gorilla’s main activity!

A silverback may eat up to 65 pounds [30 kg] of food a day. And every animal in the group is busy looking for food from morning till evening.

Sometimes one can see them fighting over “goodies” they have found.

Where to find them


To reach the silverback Gorillas you need to climb the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda to an altitude of about 10,000 feet [3,000 m].

The air is thin, which makes it rather difficult to breathe, and the paths are narrow.

But you can enjoy the beauty of the Hagenia tree, with its horizontally spread branches, laden with a thick growth of mosses, ferns, and orchids. It gives the forest a paradise like beauty.

A guide can help you search for the spot where the gorillas are usually seen, although the gorillas are constantly on the move looking for fresh food.

A silverback male gorilla is huge and may weigh about 450 pounds [200 kg]! Actually, eating is a gorilla’s main activity!

A silverback may eat up to 65 pounds [30 kg] of food a day. And every animal in the group is busy looking for food from morning till evening.

Sometimes one can see them fighting over “goodies” they have found.


Endangered species


They are the mountain gorillas—among the most critically endangered mammals in the world!

American zoologist Dian Fossey did much to arouse public concern over the fate of these creatures. Fossey came to Africa in the late 1960’s to study mountain gorillas.

At that time they were rapidly disappearing as a result of poaching.

The plucky scientist took up a hermit-like existence in the Virunga Mountains, quickly befriending the gorillas who lived there.

Fossey published her findings in magazine articles and in the book Gorillas in the Mist.

As time passed, she became increasingly determined to protect her furry friends, waging a virtual war against poachers.

However, she became a casualty of her own crusade and was murdered by an unknown assailant in 1985.