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Gorillas

gorillas
Mountain gorilla deep in the Ugandan jungle - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Portrait. Image by mkopka via depositphotos.com

Gorillas are the largest living primates on the earth. Interestingly, they are more similar to humans than you might expect – 98% of our DNA is the same as a gorilla’s DNA! However, our similarities extend beyond our DNA. Gorillas experience emotions such as joy, sadness, and even grief. Let’s learn more about these incredible animals. 

Gorilla
Group of mountain gorillas. Image by pljvv1 via depositphotos.com

Some Quick “Animal” Facts

Scientific NameGorilla beringei (Eastern Gorilla) / Gorilla gorilla (Western Gorilla)
ClassMammalia
SizeStanding height of 4 to 6 feet when upright, weighing up to 440 pounds
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered (Eastern Gorilla) / Endangered (Western Gorilla)

Gorilla Overview

gorilla
Image by jminso via depositphotos.com

Where do they live?

Gorillas live in the forests and mountainous regions of central Africa. Countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo receive thousands of tourists each year who come to witness these incredible animals. 

What do they eat?

Gorillas are primarily herbivorous. Eating mostly fruits, leaves, and a wide range of plants. However, they eat insects now and then. 

How do they reproduce?

Gorilla
Image by GUDKOVANDREY via depositphotos.com

Gorillas have a slow reproduction rate, and like other mammals, they reproduce sexually and give live birth. After a gestation period of about 8.5 months, females give birth to only a single infant. The infants are cared for closely by their mothers and remain with them for several years.

Social behavior

Gorillas live in groups called troops or bands of between 5 to 30 gorillas. These groups are led by dominant males that are known as silverbacks. These dominant silverbacks are often at the head of the group for many years. The adult females in the troop generally compete with one another to groom or stay close to the silverback.

Gorilla News Tags

Gorilla Conservation

Unfortunately, gorillas are facing the threat of extinction. Human activities such as habitat destruction and poaching are their biggest threats. Unfortunately, tourism is a double-edged sword as well because although it helps fund conservation practices, it puts the gorillas at risk. Humans can transmit diseases to them. 

Conservation practices

Habitat PreservationDeforestation, mining, and agricultural expansion are threatening gorilla habitats. Conservation groups are working to secure protected areas and national parks to help protect their populations. 
Anti-Poaching MeasuresUnfortunately, gorillas are still being killed for bushmeat, and traditional medicine and taken for the illegal pet trade
Disease ControlTo help manage diseases in gorilla populations, conservation measures include monitoring health and disease exposure. This includes vaccinating where possible and implementing measures to reduce human-gorilla contact. 
Research and Monitoring Long-term research helps conservationists understand threats and the effectiveness of different protection measures. 

Gorilla Pictures

Gorilla History & Cultural Importance

For centuries, local African tribes have respected gorillas. They believed that they were powerful ancestors or spirits of the forest. In more modern times, gorillas have been featured in literature and media. In 1933, King Kong first premiered. This story touched on themes of exploitation and misunderstanding. Today gorillas serve as a flagship species for conservation. 

Gorilla FAQ

How long do gorillas live?

Gorillas can live around 40 years in the wild, and even longer in captivity.

Can gorillas use tools?

Gorillas have been observed using sticks to determine water depth when moving through swamps. Additionally, some gorillas have been seen using leaves, sponges, or cups to collect and drink water. They are extremely intelligent, as I mentioned earlier, and they share 98% of the same genes as we do! One gorilla, Koko, was taught sign language and used human-made objects to communicate with her caregivers.

Are gorillas aggressive?

Gorillas will only show aggression when they feel threatened. The leader of the group might show aggression if they feel the need to protect their group.

Learn More About Gorillas Here

YouTube video
Meet This Family of Mountain Gorillas. Source: Youtube, Uploaded: BBC Earth

Jump to our dedicated Primates page to explore other fascinating animals in this group!

Newest Category: Gorillas

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