Magnus Charitable Trust

Wildlife Conservation – Silver Backed Gorillas of Great Lakes Region – 2006


At the end of an arduous but rewarding humanitarian tour of Rwanda where the chairwoman Maria Magnus donated her time and funds to numerous good causes and facilitated some great new projects she had one last charitable visit to make.

Maria led her team of aid workers to visit one of the most magnificent and seriously endangered species on planet earth – Silver Back Gorillas. These primates are no ordinary animals and are so similar to us humans that one has to take a step back to consider the immense possibilities as to mankind’s evolution under Darwinian theory or rest in the religious theories of mankind’s beginnings.

Whatever one’s perspective these wonderful mammals are breathtaking to behold and Maria was left speechless and in awe of their serene magnificence.

Having started her day at zero five hundred hours and hiked for near on three hours with a team of rangers Maria and her group were fortunate to then have the luxury of spending an entire hour observing this incredible family of Silver Backed Gorillas.

These mountain gorillas are the largest, strongest ape that inhabit East Africa’s great lakes region’s high country along the panoramic volcanic slopes. They have few natural predators but sadly their biggest single enemy is of course mankind, we are their nemeses and more is the pity. Our own conflicts, poaching, civil wars and greed have virtually wiped out their safe haven in the great lake’s high country.

Conservation Status advises that mountain gorillas are considered endangered by ‘IUCN’s Red List’. We humans endanger these precious apes to such an extent that the Ugandan, Rwandan & even the beleaguered government of Democratic Republic of Congo provide armed ranger escorts for each family of gorillas. These brave forest ranger’s provide 24/7 security to the families of apes who number a mere seven hundred odd across the region.

One group of gorillas live in the Bwindi National Park in Uganda while the other group is spread over three national parks in the Virungas mountain region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.

The mountain gorillas are as gentle with their young and as family orientated as we humans, yes they have tremendous power and remarkable strength and indeed can be aggressive and lethal if cornered and forced to defend themselves. Yet they are peaceful, quiet, shy and retiring by nature.

Like any maternal instincts the mothers will fight to the death to defend their offspring. Each family, group or troop depending on what you wish to call the family is led by a sole Alpha male who has silver hair all down his back; whence the name Silver Backs hails from. Such regal looking hair only develops once the males reach at least 12 years of age.

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