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All it takes to habituate Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Mountain gorilla habituation is about training wild gorillas to make them used with human presence. This process can take up to 2 years. A tracker explains: “A group of wild gorillas is assigned to us and we set out every day come rain or sunshine to follow them. When we find “our” gorillas, we spend the day sitting in the forest, making claiming vocalization or even pretend to be eating leaves to show them that we are not a threat. After a few months, gorillas still remain hidden in the bushes but they will curiously peep through in the vegetation at us. For many months all we see is the hands and faces of curious gorilla poking through the bush. It can also be hard to know the size of the group or composition!. When the silverback feels comfortable about our presence, he leads the rest of the group to feed in the open, still keeping a distance. Eventually, we can approach as close as 15 ft (5m) from the gorillas without them running off. We then gradually allow tourist to see the gorillas. We continue to monitor our group every day.  Since we have lost their fear of humans, we are now responsible for protecting them! The whole process is long and grueling – it demands dedication and love for the gentle giants.”

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