I visited Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, south-western Uganda with my close friend and photographer Danny Seal. Together we tracked different Mountain Gorilla families. It was a very special experience looking eye to eye from only feet away to one of closest relatives whilst knowing you did not want to irritate the Silverbacks one of whom charged a guide who ran faster than Usain Bolt to get out of the way.
They are the greatest ape. Only a few more than 1000 mountain gorillas remain in the world today. There are two isolated populations surviving in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, south-western Uganda, and the other on the forested slopes of the Virunga massif, straddling the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda. During the 20th century, a combination of hunting and habitat destruction drove this very rare primate to the verge of extinction. Today, the species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
We found a number of family groups with a dominant Silverback male, several females and their very young babies. In some cases we did find a non dominant additional Silverback being tolerated as well as the Blackbacks. The hierarchy is very clear when you have the opportunity to watch their behaviour at close quarters. One of the incredible features we found was looking at just how human their hands and fingers were, which you can see in some of these images.