Gorilla Habituation Process – Adapting Gorillas to Human Presence

Gorilla Habituation Process is a practice of training wild mountain gorillas to learn to live in the presence of human beings. This process usually takes between 2 to 3 years to be accomplished by researchers and conservationists. Mountain gorillas are naturally wild animals and therefore need to be habituated for them to be ideal for trekking by human beings. Gorillas that are not habituated or adapted to human presence are not good for trekking and they may be violent.

In Uganda, gorilla habituation takes place in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, where gorillas in Uganda live. But the same process also is done in the Virunga National Park of DR Congo as well as Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This is because an accomplished gorilla habituation process makes identified gorilla groups ideally available for visiting under the two concept of gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience. When a gorilla group finishes the habituation process, it is put on a test before being available to visitors for trekking.

The habituation exercise involves visiting a chosen group of wild gorillas every day until it gets used to these researchers. Over time, all family members are identified by their age, sex and later offered names for easy identity. During the gorilla habituation process, researchers have adequate time to learn more about the gorilla ways of life, shoot photos, watch them interact, feed, build nests and groom themselves. In the process, you also get to know the role of each individual member in the family.

Gorilla habituation most of the time entails a group of trackers, guides, rangers and researchers who come to an identified gorilla group in a friendly way in order to get the best manner of communicating to the gorillas. The process is somehow risky in a way that some dominant silverback would want to show its dominance where a certain degree of aggressiveness may be portrayed.