Gorilla species are the ground-dwelling primates and are mainly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of the Central and Sub-Saharan Africa. The genus endangered apes are divided into two species such as the Eastern gorillas and the western gorillas and either four or five subspecies. However, they are the largest primates and are said to be 95% to 99% similar to human beings in DNA after the chimpanzees and bonobos. The Gorilla Species survive in natural habitats of tropical or subtropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.

Gorilla Species

Eastern Gorillas

These are classified into eastern lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas. The Eastern lowland gorillas are habitant in the Kahuzi Biega National Park found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo border with Rwanda. Western lowland gorillas are found in central west Africa countries. The mountain gorillas survive in the tropical Albertine Rift forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest, Mgahinga gorilla National Park both situated in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park of Congo. The tropical montane forest is at a low altitude ranging between 2,200 to 4,300 meters.

Physical features of Eastern gorillas

  • The eastern gorilla has a large broad chest and long arms, flat nose with large nostrils.
  • The eastern gorillas have bald hands, face, feet, and breasts.
  • Their hair is mainly black, but the adult male Eastern gorillas have a silvery “saddle” on their back.
  • When gorillas get older, their hair on the saddle of the back turns white, more so like the gray hair of the elderly people.
  • The Grauer’s gorillas have a shorter, deep black hair, thicker while mountain gorillas have bluish color and slightly smaller, lighter than grauer’s gorillas but still larger and heavier than the western low land and the cross river gorillas.
  • The male eastern gorillas weigh 140 kg to 251 kilograms and ranking 1.7meter upright and female typically weighs 90 to 100 kilograms and stands 1.5meter tall.

About their ecology

  • The eastern gorillas are herbivorous apes and live in areas with a shortage of vegetation leading to a lack of available fruit in their habitats. 
  • They have smaller home ranges than western gorillas as the vegetation standing is more abundant than fruits. To note, they build their nests folding over vegetation usually on the ground.
  • Eastern lowland gorillas do not feed on banana fruits but they may destroy banana trees to eat the nutritious pith. Farmers have to be very careful about their banana plantations in order to protect their crops.
  • The eastern lowland gorillas feed on plant diets such as fruits, stems, leaves, bark as well as small insects like ants and termites.

About their behavior

  • The eastern low land gorilla species live in a group of 2 to over 30 individuals. To note, the group usually comprises one silver bark, females and their offsprings. Since the silver bark are strong enough, it requires each group to at least have one dominant leader.
  • The males are the ones to protect their group from danger.
  • The young silverback males tend to leave their natal groups when they become mature. They decide to attract females to form their own group.

Mountain gorilla Species

Mountain gorilla species is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorillas. Mountain gorillas can only be found in Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga national park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2018 they recorded a total population of 1,004 individuals that are remaining in the wild. 

Physical features of mountain gorillas.

  • Mountain gorilla species are bigger and taller than that of other gorilla species.
  • They live in cold temperatures though they survive in the rain forests or bamboo forests.
  • The Male mountain gorilla weighs of 195kilogram standing height of 168centmeter and female weigh 100kilogram and height of 140 cent meter.
  • The tallest silverback was recorded measuring 1.95 meters with an arm span which rises up to 2.7 meters long. Its chest measured 1.98meters wide and weight of 219 kilograms.
  • Mountain gorillas feed on vegetables such as fruits.

Western lowland gorillas

  • They are found in Congo, Angola, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea and can weigh up to 270 kilograms, however, they commonly live in the zoo where they survive in captivity.
  • Western lowland gorillas are the smallest subspecies of gorillas comprised of grey-brown fur.
  • Female western lowland gorilla species produce at age of 9 -10 years.

Eastern lowland gorillas

  • The eastern lowland gorillas are habitats in two national parks such as Maiko national park and Kahuzi biega national park both situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Male eastern lowland gorillas weigh of 163 kilograms and 1.69 height and female adults of the eastern lowland gorillas weigh about 81 kilograms and height of 1.60meter.
  • Eastern law land gorillas’ thumbs are stronger than the rest of the fingers.
  • Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest of all gorilla species of which they have the strongest skeleton skull when compared to the rest of its body.

    Eastern lowland gorilla
    Eastern lowland gorilla

The life span of gorilla Species

They live between 35 to 40 years, however, to those which live in the zoo, they may live up 50 years and more.

The gestation period of female gorilla lasts 8.5 months and female mountain gorillas give birth at 10 years of age and have a four-year birth interval.

Female gorilla species mature at 10-12 years and male gorillas mature at 11-13 years, though male gorillas can get fertile before reaching the age of adulthood.

Unfortunately, in 2006 about 5000 died due to the outbreak of Ebola virus that occurred in central Africa, of which 100 gorillas were wiped away in Odzala national park in Congo. In 2008 they had to re-issue an agreement concerning the conserving gorillas and their habitats in order to help protect the great apes that are remaining in the wild.

According to the total population of the gorilla species that are remaining in wild, western in low land gorillas are approximately 100,000 that are left in the wild and 400 exist in zoo, mountain gorillas are thought to be 1004 that exist in the wild and none in zoo, eastern gorillas have a population of about 5000 that are still existing in the wild and 24 found in zoo.

book a safari

Gorilla Species

Gorilla Species

book a safari