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Wildlife

Animals In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park | Animals Of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a montane park found in the southwestern region of Uganda. This Uganda safari park boasts over 76 mammal species however, most of them are not spotted due to the thick montane forest.

Some of the recorded animals in Mgahinga national park include forest elephants and buffalos, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, giant forest hogs, bushpigs, leopards, and several varieties of rodents, bats and small predators.

Please note that mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are the only primate species in Mgahinga gorilla park and are the key tourist attractions of the park plus the 3 striking Virunga volcanoes (Mountain Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabinyo Volcano).

If lucky, some animals can be spotted while on guided nature walks in the park for example, walks to the Mgahinga viewing platform, and hikes to Sabinyo gorge, among others.

Below are the animals of Mgahinga national park:

Primates In Mgahinga National Park

Two primate species have been recorded in Mgahinga national park and these include the following:

  1. Mountain Gorillas- Gorilla beringei beringei

Mountain gorillas are among the endangered animals in Uganda. As their name suggests, mountain gorillas live in dense misty rainforests, high in the mountains, at an altitude of about 8,000- 13,000ft. Unlike other apes, mountain gorillas have more thick fur that helps them to survive in cold conditions.

Amazingly, these gentle giants of the forest share about 98% of their DNA similar to that of humans thus, man’s close cousins. Weighing about 300- 500 pounds on average, mountain gorillas are the bulkiest and most powerful living primates.

The park boasts one incredible habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi group (holding 9 members including 4 silverbacks).  On your Uganda safaris in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, it’s spotted around the slopes of the magnificent Muhabura Mountain (4321m high).

2. Golden Monkeys- Cercopithecus kandti

A golden monkey is a subspecies of the blue monkey however, as its name suggests a golden monkey can easily be differentiated from a blue monkey by its striking golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.

Golden monkeys are beautiful endangered monkey species endemic to the Albertine region and restricted to montane forests, especially near bamboo.

Mgahinga gorilla park boasts about 3000- 4000 golden monkeys and on your Uganda adventure safaris in the park, they can be spotted on a nature walk on the Gahinga trail.

Other Animals In Mgahinga Gorilla Park

Numerous animal species have been recorded in Mgahinga gorilla park and some can be recorded while on guided nature walks including:

  1. African Forest Elephants- Loxodonta cyclotis

The African forest elephant is one of the 2 living African elephant species. It’s native to humid forests and smaller than the African bush elephant. They’ve pillar-like legs, large ears, and straight down-pointing tusks. Forest elephants also have grey skin that looks yellow to reddish after wallowing and it’s sparsely covered with black coarse hair around the tip of the tail.

They forage on leaves, seeds, fruits, and tree bark in the forest. It’s possible to spot them while on nature walks for example on the long Sabinyo gorge trail or a walk to Mgahinga viewing platform.

2. Forest Buffaloes- Syncerus caffer

The African forest buffalo is also called the dwarf buffalo. It’s the smaller species of the African buffalo weighing about 250- 320kg, spotted only in tropical rain forests. It has a reddish-brown hide that is darker in the facial area and lower parts of the legs.

The shape and size of the horns of the African forest buffalo distinguish it from the African cape buffalo. The forest buffalo has much smaller horns that are rarely fused. Though present in Mgahinga gorilla park, they’re rarely spotted however, if lucky, you can spot them on a guided walk to the Mgahinga viewing platform or Sabinyo gorge walk trail.

3. Leopards- Panthera pardus

For many, leopards can be confused with a cheetah however, they can be differentiated. Leopards have rosette-shaped spots with short bigger limbs and are more muscular than cheetahs.

Please note that though elephants are on the checklist of animals in Mgahinga national park, they’re very rare to spot due to their love for wooded and rocky habitats “secretive and solitary nature”.

4. Side Striped Jackal- Lupulella Adusta

A side-striped jackal is a nocturnal dog-like carnivore, slightly larger than the black-backed jackal. Its coat colour is buff-grey and the back is darker grey than the underside, and the tail is black with a white tip. Side-stripped jackals have got white stripes on the sides running from the elbow to the hip hence, their name.

They’re omnivorous feeding on small mammals, fruits, maize, reptiles, eggs and birds. They do occur in Mgahinga national park however, rarely spotted.

5. Bushbuck- Tragelaphus sylvaticus

A bushbuck is a widespread species of antelope found in a wide range of habitats such as riverine, woodlands, and other thicketed habitats.  It’s generally solitary or a territorial browser and a close relative of the Nyala but, the bushbuck is rather a large antelope.

Female bushbucks have a lighter brown coat however, all sexes have up to 7 white stripes and white spots on the sides. Other white patches are on the ears, chin, tail, legs, and neck. The muzzle is also white and horns are found only on the males. If lucky, it can be sighted while on guided forest hikes on the Sabinyo gorge trail.

6. Black-Fronted Duiker- Cephalophus nigrifrons

The black-fronted duiker is a small antelope weighing 14- 18kg, a browser in nature. It’s a compact, short-necked and active antelope that gets its name from the broad black stripe that runs from the nose to its forehead- a feature distinguishing it from other duikers.

It has a glossy coat that’s deep reddish-mahogany to a lighter orange-chestnut plus sparse darker hair on the long legs. It has a short tail that’s black with a white tip and short pointed horns in both sexes, measuring 4- 12cm- used for defence. If lucky, it can be spotted while on a 6km Sabinyo gorge trail.

7. Bushpigs- Potamochoerus larvatus

The bushpig is a member of the pig family that inhabits forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and cultivated areas. Bushpigs resemble the domestic pig however, they can be identified by their blunt muscular snouts, small eyes, and pointed tufted ears.

Their colour varies from reddish brown to dark brown. They’ve got a lighter-coloured mane which erects when the animal is tense. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Due to their nocturnal habits, they’re rarely spotted in Mgahinga national park Uganda.

8. Giant Forest Hogs- Hylochoerus Meinertzhageni

The giant forest hog is the only member of its genus. It lives in the wooded habitats of Africa and is the largest wild member of the pig family. The giant forest hog has extensive hairs on its body which are mostly black on the surface however, hairs nearest the skin have a deep orange colour.

Forest hogs are nocturnal creatures, have large pointed ears and their tusks are proportionally smaller than those of the warthogs but bigger than those of the bushpigs. If lucky, it can be spotted on the Sabinyo gorge trail.

9. African Golden Cat- Caracal aurata

African golden cats are wild cats endemic to rainforests. They’re close relatives of both the caracal and the serval. Their colour ranges from golden reddish-brown, greyish brown to dark slaty. They’re spotted with spots ranging from faded tan to black though, spots limited to the belly and inner legs.

Its undersides and areas around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and throat are lighter in colour to almost white. Its tail is darker on the top and either heavily banded, lightly banded or plain, ending in a black tip. Due to the thickness of the montane forest, they’re rarely spotted.

Conclusion

Though Mgahinga Gorilla National Park boasts over 76 mammal species counting forest elephants, buffalos, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, and leopards among others, most of them are not spotted due to the thick montane forests. Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are the key attractions of the park.

Mgahinga gorilla park is commonly visited for golden monkey trekking and Uganda gorilla safaris as it boasts one habituated gorilla family however, birding tours are also possible.

Book With Us An African Safari In Uganda For A Memorable Holiday. Note That, We Can Organise A Uganda Wildlife & Primate Tour In Mgahinga National Park Where You’ll Encounter The Amazing Gentle Giants In Their Natural Habitat. Please, Email Us For Any Inquiries About Your Uganda Tour.

FAQs About Animals In Mgahinga National Park

  1. How Many Gorillas Are In Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is under Virunga Conservation Area which holds over 300 mountain gorillas. The VCA consists of Virunga NP of DRC, Volcanoes NP of Rwanda plus, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda which holds one habituated transboundary gorilla family of 9 members called the Nyakagezi family.

 

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