Western Lowland Gorilla

(Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Gorillas are the largest great apes in the world. They live together in large family groups that are led by a silverback. Gorillas come in two different types, the western and eastern gorillas with two subspecies. Admire the western lowland gorilla in Zoo Berlin.

CHARACTERISTICS

Origin
Central Africa:

Habitat
Evergreen flat and swamp forests

Diet
Leaves, pulp stalks, bark, tubers, grasses, fruits

Status
Approx. 95,000

Size
1 to 1.70 metres

Weight
60 to 180 kg

Gestation time:
8.5 to 9 months

Achievable age
Up to 35 years in the wild, up to 50 years in human care

What you should know about the gorilla
Gorillas are herbivores. The western lowland gorillas live in western central Africa (e.g. Cameroon, Dem. Rep. Kongo) and seek their food in forests. They form groups here, consisting of one male, the silver back, his females and their joint offspring.

Peaceful Chest-Beaters
Gorillas have nothing in common with their "King Kong image". They live peacefully in tightly knit family groups and are very sociable. Conflicts are resolved through impressive roaring, gesturing and feats of strength.

Silver is power

The fur of the male turns silvery grey when they are fully grown. Compared to the eastern gorillas, the silver coat of the western lowland gorillas covers the hips and the thighs. The silverbacks are the leaders of the gorilla group and defend their extended family from outside.

Strong Silverback
Adult males exhibit the characteristic silver-grey fur on their backs, waists and thighs. The most dominant silverback is the leader of the gorilla family and protects it from predators such as leopards.

How many gorillas are left?
The last population number estimates of western lowland gorillas indicated approx. 95,000 individuals in existence. In the meantime, unfortunately, we have to assume that the number of the wild animals has decreased dramatically due to the continuous deforestation, the hunt for their meat and the Ebola virus.

Is it true, that …?

Human babies are weaned off breast feedings after 6 to 12 months on average in our western society. Even though the pregnancy period of humans and gorillas are almost the same at nine months, breastfeeding in large primates lasts approx. six times as long as their gestation period, so around four years!

Did you know...
...gorillas are the largest of the apes with up to 200 kg of body weight, gorilla babies suckle for 3 to 4 years and they build a sleeping nest out of leaves and branches every single day?