Gorilla – Gorillas

The largest great apes inhabits tropical Central Africa

Gorillas, the largest living primates, exude an aura of majesty and strength that is unparalleled in the animal kingdom. With their imposing physique, they are the epitome of power, yet they exhibit a surprisingly gentle and social nature. These magnificent creatures are divided into two species: the Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei), each with a distinct subspecies that adapts to varying habitats across the forests of central Africa.

These primates possess a robust and muscular build. Adult males, known as silverbacks, often weigh twice as much as females. Their muscular arms, longer than their legs, enable them to walk using their knuckles, aiding in their locomotion through dense forest undergrowth. Gorillas have dark to greyish hair, with facial features characterized by large nostrils and small ears, contributing to their expressive countenances.

Gorillas live in cohesive social groups typically led by a dominant silverback male, who takes on the role of protector and mediator within the group. These groups exhibit complex social interactions, including grooming, play, and various vocalizations that facilitate communication and strengthen social bonds. Chest-beating, a behavior often associated with gorillas, serves multiple purposes, including attracting females, warning off intruders, and asserting dominance within the group.

Primarily herbivorous, gorillas eat leaves, stems, fruit, and bark, though they occasionally consume small insects. Their foraging behavior plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, aiding in seed dispersal and ensuring the health and diversity of their forest habitats.

Both species of gorillas face significant threats from habitat destruction due to logging, mining, and agricultural expansion. Poaching and disease, particularly the Ebola virus, have also contributed to the decline of gorilla populations. The Eastern gorilla, including the mountain gorilla and the eastern lowland gorilla, is classified as critically endangered, while the western lowland gorilla and the Cross River gorilla face similar threats to their survival.