What to do when a gorilla charges at you / attacks
What to do when a mountain gorilla charges at you. Most guests booked for a mountain gorilla safari will need to know what to do in such scenarios. Mountain gorillas are scary but yet very humble creatures so it is on a few occasions that these animals will attack the visitors on a gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking is the search of the gorillas in their natural habitat and guests get to spend a magical hour in their presence.
The mountain gorillas visited are habituated which implies they are accustomed to human visit however this does not mean that they are no longer wild. Their wild side is unpredictable and can come out at any time. Guests ahead of the gorilla trekking are briefed on the expected code of conduct in the forest and dos and don’ts while in the field and this is when some of these issues are addressed. Mountain gorillas are an endangered animal species with about 1,063 individuals left in the entire world as of the last census.
These mountain gorillas can be visited in only 2 places in the entire world and these are the Albertine rift valley and the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. The Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, the Mgahinga forest national park of Uganda and the Virunga national park of the Democratic republic of Congo all lie in the Albertine rift area and these four national parks are the only ones that offer the mountain gorilla trekking experience.
Each of these destinations has been running mountain gorilla trekking safaris for a while now with very well organized programs led by very knowledgeable and experienced ranger guides who accompany guests through out their Rwanda gorilla trekking safari. These ranger guides will equip guests with these survival or reactions for such cases as well as protect the guests the most that they are able to.
This article will also equip guests on what to do when a mountain gorilla charges at you while on the trek or tries to attack. These gorillas rarely attack or charge at humans unless they have been provoked. Most fights or attacks from these gentle giants are between themselves and rarely humans however this does not rule out the possibility. Once a gorilla is irritated or starts to send off warning signs before it attacks, here are a few things you will need to keep in mind or do.
Usually, the attacks will be from the silverback gorilla as they are the fighters and defenders of the gorilla family in times of a threat to them.
Crouch down; This will literally mean that once you are in the home of the mountain gorillas or come across them, and the gorilla charges at you, you will have to humbly bend down as a sign of retreat and calmly walk away while bending. If you opt to stay standing upright, you may give off defense signs at cause the gorilla to attack.
Walk further away; The mountain gorillas are visited in their natural habitat however you will be expected and advised to keep a 7 meter distance in between you and the gorillas and once you get much closer, they may get threatened and charge to attack. Once you notice you are closer than expected, slowly push back while crouching and do not run at any point as that will be interpreted as a threat and they will attack. You will need to stay calm at all expenses.
Avoid eye contact; The mountain gorillas are easily intimidated and are shy animals so what ever you do in that one hour, try as much as possible to avoid direct and long eye contact with the mountain gorilla. This is taken as a sign that you want to challenge the gorilla and they may attack and remember these are quiet strong animals which you are not ready to wrestle.
Avoid mocking the gorillas. The wild nature of these animals will surely come out once the guest starts to mock them by making funny faces or showing their teeth or even making loud sounds that are interpreted as threats and are bound to attack.
Follow the range guide’s lead; You will be led into the forest for the search of the mountain gorillas by the experienced ranger guides so you will need to keep your eye on them and do as they do and only wait for their go ahead before you attempt to do something. These Park rangers have over the years visited these gorillas on a daily so they know their moods, their communication and they will let you know when it is best to or not to.
Be an Ape; Once the gorilla has charged and all the above techniques have failed to work for them, you will be left with one option to act like an ape in the wild but in the most modest way by getting closer, pluck leaves, break and chew the vegetation but this is commonly done by the rangers who know how best to and usually last option.
Mountain gorilla trekking is a thrilling experience in itself and is one of the tourism activities you should not miss out on when in Rwanda, Uganda or the Democratic republic of Congo.