Western Lowland Gorilla
Western Gorillas as the largest species of primates with the longest lifespan. Unit recently, it was considered a single species, but DNA evidence has led to the recognition of the eastern and western populations as distinct species. The western gorilla inhabits primary and secondary forests. It is a critically endangered species according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The great decline in their numbers is mainly due to the deterioration of forest habitats.
The western lowland gorilla lives in areas of Cameroon in Africa.
Western gorillas are smaller and lighter than the Eastern gorillas.
Gorillas have a characteristic body shape with a broad chest, heavy neck and hands, and strong feet. They have a dark brown coat with a brownish-red crest. Male gorillas have larger skulls than females and other monkeys, with larger canine teeth and a more pronounced ridge above the eyes.
Western gorillas are smaller and lighter bodied than their Eastern relative because they need to be agile climbers in order to reach fruits in the trees.
The average height of the Western gorilla is 180 cm, while the female average is 150 cm.
Fruit forms a large part of the Western gorilla’s diet and they can travel up to 41kms every day in search of fruit-bearing trees.
Western male gorillas weigh up to 140 kilograms, while females weigh up to 70 kilograms.
Behaviour and Family Life:
Western gorillas live in groups that vary in size between 2 and 20 individuals, composed of at least one male, several females and their offspring. A dominant male heads the group, with younger males usually leaving the group when they reach maturity.
Females sometimes transfer to another group before breeding; they care for their young infant for the first four to five years of its life, which means that there is usually a long interval between births, which partly explains the slow population growth rates that make the Western gorilla so vulnerable to poaching.
The adult males are called ‘Silverback’.
Western gorillas live up to 40 years in the wild.