Mgahinga’s slopes are covered with a series of distinct altitudinal bands of vegetation. The lowest zone is an area of grass and bush that was formerly encroached on and cleared by farmers and is now regenerating. Undisturbed vegetation starts with montane woodland, followed by the bamboo zone, montane forest, and the Ericaceous zone which contains giant tree heathers. The sequence culminates with the spectacular alpine zone which occurs only on East African mountains above 3000m and includes bizarre giant forms of lobelia and groundsel. The park contains at least 39 species of mammal and 79 birds. Larger mammals include elephants, leopards, buffalo, and bush pigs but these are rarely seen. Mgahinga’s most famous resident is the mountain gorilla. Less famous but equally rare and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which is found only in the Virungas and in one other forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite, and crowned crane.