Can Mountain Gorillas Attack Humans and Cause Harm

To see mountain gorillas, a person has to visit and walk through their habitat, this makes it seem so risky. With the fact that they are wild animals there’s always a question whether mountain gorillas are dangerous. Wondering whether mountain gorillas can attack humans and cause harm? Here is what you need to know.

Africa is popular for lots of fearsome predators including lions, hyenas and many more but luckily mountain gorillas are not part of them. The answer to whether gorillas are dangerous is NO, mountain gorillas can not easily attack humans and cause harm. Mountain gorillas are taken through a habituation process which makes them familiar to the presence of humans before they are opened to tourists for trekking. This ensures that they are not harmful and can’t cause harm unless attacked by humans.

During habituation, gorillas are taken through a long process where they get familiar with the presence of humans as rangers spend time with the gorillas for about 2 years until the gorillas get unbothered with the presence of people. After the rangers realize that the gorillas are familiar with humans, other people including researchers and guide are brought to meet the gorillas and if the gorillas pass this test then they are opened up to tourists for trekking.

When tourists go for a Uganda gorilla trekking safari or in Rwanda, park ranger guides go with them to the jungle to ensure that you are safe since they are much familiar with the gorillas. A total of 8 tourists are allocated 2 armed ranger guides to ensure their safety in the forest.

Being habituated gorillas have been carefully exposed to human presence and have learned that humans are not a threat.  However, they are still cautious and act according to your reaction to them. In case the gorillas feel unsafe they may react since they are still wild animals though there are no recorded cases of when mountain gorillas have gone violent on humans during trekking.  Your ranger guide will take you through the precautions and what is required of you in case gorillas get upset with your presence

Do mountain gorillas react against humans?

Though unlikely to harm humans, mountain gorillas can actually charge towards people, they are still wild animals. However, their reaction that is referred to as charging is away of defense when they sense danger. What triggers gorillas to act in defense include being surprised or feeling threatened. Things like beating your chest and looking into the gorilla eyes directly like you are picking up a fight can make them feel threatened.

When mountain gorillas feel threatened, a silverback mountain gorilla may react by making bluff charges, beating on his chest with aggressive sounds or running directly towards their target.  When the silverback gorilla charges towards someone in most cases it will stop just a few feet away just to wait for the target reaction. Make sure you do not react like you are picking a fight.

Note: Do not look a gorilla directly in the eye, it makes them feel like you are picking up a fight with it.

If a silver-back gorilla reacts, do these

Though a rare occurrence, you should be aware of what to do in case the gorilla charges towards you since you definitely can’t fight this massive size of a giant. Mountain gorillas weigh about 150 kg. The most appropriate reaction is that you crouch down slowly, look away and act casual/with no intentions of threat. In this way, the gorilla will see you as non-threatening and therefore will move away and return to their family.

Knowing that mountain gorillas are not dangerous, then no worries, plan your next gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda or Uganda. A gorilla safari is one of the most amazing African safaris that can be tailored on a wildlife tour. With accessibility to all of the countries, tailoring in a Kenya safari or wildlife safari in Tanzania is an amazing way of having a true authentic African experience.

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