Wildlife Species of the Week

GORILLA (Gorilla gorilla)

Gorillas are human’s closest cousin as display many human-like behaviors and emotions, such as laughter and sadness. Gorillas are gentle giants and interestingly share 98.3% of their genetic code with humans. Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are stocky animals with broad chests and shoulders, large, human-like hands, and small eyes set into hairless faces.
There are two species of gorillas in the world which are the eastern gorilla and western gorilla. However, each has a lowland and upland subspecies. The eastern gorilla species consists of the Mountain gorilla and the Eastern Lowland gorilla. The western gorilla species consists of the Cross River gorilla and the Western Lowland gorilla. Both species live in tropical and subtropical regions of the African continent. The only differences between these two main species are the size of the noise and their sound when they communicate. The eastern gorilla is also often bigger than the western gorilla. However, a common feature they have is their endangered status on the IUCN red-list due to the destruction of their natural habitats.

Gorillas live in family groups of usually between 5 to 10 member size, but sometimes two to more than 50, led by a dominant adult male commonly referred to as the silverback, who usually hold this position for an extended number of years. Their diet is vegetarian; that of eastern gorillas includes leaves, stalks, and shoots, but western gorillas eat much more fruit.

The gorilla is a diurnal species (active during the day) and primarily terrestrial, usually walking about on all four limbs with part of its weight supported on the knuckles of its hands. They share the same mode of locomotion, called knuckle walking, with chimpanzees. Occasionally gorillas stand erect, mainly when displaying. Females and the young climb more than males, mainly because much vegetation cannot support the weight of males.
These gentle giants have loomed large in the public consciousness for nearly a century, ever since a movie of the great ape, “King Kong” was released. You definitely need to watch this movie, if you haven’t.