What to Do When a Mountain Gorilla Charges at You

What to Do When a Mountain Gorilla Charges at You : Encountering a mountain gorilla in the wild is a rare and exhilarating experience. These majestic creatures share 98% of their DNA with humans, making the moments spent observing them in their natural habitat incredibly special. However, even in the midst of this awe-inspiring encounter, there may be times when a mountain gorilla exhibits signs of agitation or aggression. Knowing how to react in such situations is crucial for both your safety and the well-being of these incredible primates.

gorilla charging

The Importance of Gorilla Trekking Etiquette

Before delving into what to do when a mountain gorilla charges at you, it’s essential to understand the significance of gorilla trekking etiquette. Always follow the guidance of your experienced guides and park rangers, who are well-trained in gorilla behavior and safety protocols. Keep in mind the rules of maintaining a safe distance, staying quiet, and not making direct eye contact with the gorillas to avoid provoking them.

Recognizing Aggressive Behavior

Mountain gorillas are generally gentle and non-aggressive animals, but there are instances when they may feel threatened or territorial. Signs of potential aggression include loud vocalizations, thumping of the chest, charges, and rapid movements towards you or your group. It’s crucial to stay calm and composed when faced with these warning signs.

Stay Calm and Avoid Direct Eye Contact

If a mountain gorilla charges at you, the most important thing to do is remain as calm as possible. Avoid any sudden movements, and do not make direct eye contact, as this can be perceived as a challenge. Instead, lower your gaze and back away slowly without turning your back on the gorilla.

Crouch Down Slowly

Crouching down in a non-threatening posture can help defuse the situation. Make yourself appear smaller by bending your knees and lowering your body. Keep your arms at your sides and avoid raising them above your head, as this may be seen as a threat.

Speak Softly

While maintaining your calm and crouched position, speak softly and reassuringly to the gorilla. The sound of your voice may help convey that you mean no harm. Avoid shouting or making sudden loud noises, as this can escalate the situation.

gorilla charging

Follow the Guidance of Your Guides

Your experienced guides and park rangers are your best allies in such situations. They will be well-trained in gorilla behavior and will know how to handle the situation safely. Trust their instructions implicitly and follow their lead.

Retreat Slowly and Gently

Once the gorilla has calmed down and no longer exhibits signs of aggression, you can slowly and gently retreat from the area. Always maintain a respectful distance and continue to follow the guidance of your guides.

Conclusion: A Respectful and Safe Encounter

Encounters with mountain gorillas are a privilege and an opportunity to witness the wonders of the natural world. By understanding and respecting gorilla trekking etiquette and knowing how to respond if a gorilla charges, you can ensure a safe and memorable experience for both yourself and these remarkable creatures. Remember, the well-being and conservation of mountain gorillas are of utmost importance, and your responsible behavior plays a crucial role in their protection.

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