Residents of Southern California are used to encountering a specific type of urban wildlife, but rarely do they get to see a massive mountain gorilla in the wild.
Just 1,000 of the gorillas are left in the world, more than half of them live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Only a handful of permits to the park are handed out each day, allowing visitor access to several gorilla families that have been habituated, meaning they are used to seeing humans.
Reaching the majestic creatures takes more than four hours of hiking through the thick rainforest. Tour guides are lead through the region with the help of trackers.
In an effort to protect the endangered species, visitors are only allowed one hour with the primate family. Talking, touching and making eye contact with the apes is strictly prohibited.
Most family groups consist of one silverback, several females and the baby gorillas.
The average male silverback mountain gorillas weigh about 430 pounds. They're primarily herbivores and can eat up to 75 pounds of vegetation a day. Females consume around 40 pounds a day.
Prized by poachers, most gorillas are killed simply for their hands while others are sold into captivity.
Countries like Uganda are making strides to protect them but they remain at great risk.
Half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla population lives in this rainforest in Uganda
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