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|Scientific name:||Gorilla Gorilla|
|Lifespan:||35 – 40 years|
|Mass:||Western gorilla: 60 – 80 kg|
|Height:||Western gorilla: 1.6 – 1.7 m|
|Gestation period:||259 days|
More about Gorillas:
Gorillas are the largest living primates aside from humans. The gorilla is divided into 2 species, the Western and Eastern. The Western and Eastern are then both divided into two sub species. The Western Lowland and the Cross River gorilla are sub species of the Western race. The Mountain and the Eastern Lowland are sub species of the Eastern race. All gorillas are listed as endangered or critically endangered and their populations are decreasing.
Gorillas are the largest living primates on the planet and are considered “Great Apes” along with orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos. The Great Apes are part of the family Homindae and share 97% or more of their DNA among members of this family which includes humans.
The Western Gorilla is divided into 2 subspecies, the Western Lowland (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and the Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The Eastern Gorilla is also divided into 2 subspecies, the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) and the Eastern Lowland (Gorilla beringei graueri). All 4 subspecies are classified as endangered or critically endangered.
Gorilla Facts & Tidbits
Gorillas are found only in tropical and sub tropical forests in Central Africa. The eastern species of gorilla are found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The western species are found in the DRC, the Congo (Republic of Congo), and Cameroon.
Western Gorilla: Gorilla gorilla
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered / Population Trend: Decreasing
The Western lowland (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) sub-species is the most widespread of the four gorilla species. Their population may be as high as 100,000 or more although they are under direct threat from poaching and habitat loss.
Estimates suggest the Cross River (Gorilla gorilla diehli) sub-species of the Western gorilla only numbers between 250 and 300 individuals. It was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in the 1980’s. Little is known about this species as it inhabits remote mountainous regions between Cameroon and Nigeria and has not been well studied.
Eastern Gorilla: Gorilla beringei
IUCN Status: Endangered / Population Trend: Decreasing
The Mountain gorilla, one of the two sub-species of the Eastern gorilla, is found in two isolated subpopulations in Virunga volcanoes region and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Both populations combined total approximately 780 individuals and they remain under serious threat from poaching, war, destruction of their habitat, disease, and capture for the illegal pet trade.
The other sub-species of the Eastern gorilla is the Eastern Lowland, or Grauer’s gorilla. This species is found in the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This population has declined dramatically due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and poaching. It is estimated that their population has declined by 80-90% in the last 5 years (WWF) and they occupy only approximately 10% of their previous geographic range.