Social organization of Gorillas

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Social organization of Gorillas

gorilla-trackingGorillas mostly live in family groups. An average group contains 12 animals, with one or two older silver back males, younger black males, several females and their offspring, although they have no set pattern for group composition or size. Groups of thirty animals (with five silver backs), have been recorded, and smaller family groups, composed entirely of males. In Virunga, up to 40% of the groups are multi-male – gorilla tours in Uganda

Because of strong bonds between individuals, gorillas tend to stay together. The strongest of these bonds are between the females and the silver back male. He is a fully adult male whose hair is grey, a clear sign of his age, which of course indicates; his many years of survival, experience and health. Secondary silver back males, who in most cases happen to be related to the leader, possibly being son or half brother, are a common phenomenon. Though rare, a young silver back not contented with a subordinate position in the group, will usurp the position of his elder. It is important to note that the head silver back is the group’s primary defender, and invariably father of most infants born in the group.
Males in multi-male groups have weak relationships, which they maintain by a voiding conflict. Although they may co-exist in groups for years, they will leave if they fond an opportunity to reside with females elsewhere.

Among females, social relations are largely determined by kinship, with bonds between particular groups sometimes being very strong. Uganda gorilla safari
A female’s status is a combination of many factors or absence of young, and her relationship to the dominant male. Although black males come next to the hierarchy, they sometimes out rank particular adult females. Nearly all females and most black back males leave the group of their birth shortly after reaching maturity. This helps to prevent inbreeding in this tiny population, although mating between closely related adults has been seen.
Compared with other primates, gorilla social behaviour is calm and conflicts within gorilla groups are few and far between. The most common conflicts within a gorilla group are minor confrontations over feeding areas or right of way.
A dominant silver back may fight with subordinate males of challenged, but usually keeps control through vocalisation and displays, rather than violence. Transfer of power in a gorilla group can be violent when younger males or intruding silver backs drive out the leader. gorilla trekking Rwanda
However, an incredible serenity usually prevails as a dominant male grows and even dies of natural causes while still leading his group.

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