Animals in Bwindi National Park
Animals in Bwindi National Park : Bwindi National Park is home the famous Bwindi Impenetrable forest Bwindi a world Heritage Site and one of the few rainforests remaining in Uganda. This forest in south western Uganda is home to the most famous primates the mountain gorillas. The forest is found in Kanungu district along the Democratic Republic of Congo border with Uganda and is close proxy with Virunga National Park in DRC.
The Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a habitant for several animals, hosting about 120 mammal species, 248 bird species, 220 butterfly species, and 27 frog species among other creatures. Of these however the huge apes, the mountain gorillas are the most sought after mammals. With only about 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, about 450 (almost half) of these primates are found in Bwindi National Park. Other mountain gorillas are found in Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in The Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park are grouped in over 12 habituated gorilla families which are available for trekking every day of the year in four sectors of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo. Each gorilla in Bwindi is known individually to the rangers with a name given to it in order to easily identify them.
Interesting fact: in case you’re wondering how these gorillas understand their given names, remember they share about 98% of their genes with humans.
Mountain gorillas, scientific name Gorilla beringei beringei, live in forests that are in the mountains, in this case the forests that are near the Virunga Mountains. Their most famous characteristic is the thick far that helps them keep heat during the cold seasons. The average male gorilla is about 180 kg and is at an average height of 170cm, they can live up to over 40 years old, both male and female. Gorillas have dark brown eyes and the adult males have a silver lining on their backs hence the name silverback.
These primates like humans are highly social building lifetime relationships with each other. As mentioned earlier, they live in families headed by a male and that contain about 5 to 30 gorillas. Interestingly, these groups contain 3 to 4 mature females that are bonded to the head silverback for life, 3 to 6 infants, a subordinate silverback and other gorillas. The leader silverback determines the group’s journeys and is responsible for the protection of the group.
Mountain gorillas are highly vegetarian and eat all day long. They stick to fruits, bamboo shoots, stems roots, tree bark and pulp. However, they sometimes feed on things like termites to boost their sodium levels. Research shows that they do not eat or sleep in one place hence giving a chance for their food to grow very fast.
Second to being famous at Bwindi National Park are the other 10 species of primates. They include the black and white colobus monkeys, the L’hoest’s monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, De Brazza monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, the blue monkey, Potto, Demidoff’s Galago and Spectacled Galago. These are rarely seen because they hide in the thickets of the impenetrable forest.
The birds are also a stronghold in Bwindi National Park. With over 340 species of unique birds, Bwindi is one of the best places for bird watching in the country. The forest has many globally endangered species some of which are the Chapin’s Flycatcher, Grauer’s broadbill and the Shelley’s Crimson wing. More of these Regal sunbirds, Bronze naped pigeon, handsome francolin, collared apalis, white bellied robin chat, the black billed turaco and many more species.
Bwindi National Park is also home to over 200 butterfly species including the African and cream banded swallowtails. It is also home to more than 20 species of amphibians including 14 species of snakes and 14 species of lizards. Other animal species in Bwindi National Park include the elephants, geckos and chameleons.