Western Lowland Gorilla

Western lowland gorillas are endangered, but they remain far more common than their relatives, the Eastern Gorilla. Lowland Gorillas live in heavy rain forests, and it is difficult for scientists to accurately estimate how many survive in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Western lowland gorillas tend to be a bit smaller than their mountain cousins. They also have shorter hair and longer arms. Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant male Gorilla called Silverback. The dominant male is called silverbacks because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring.

Silverbacks organize troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s three-quarter- to 16-square-mile (2- to 40-square-kilometer) home range. Those who challenge this alpha male are apt to be crowed by impressive shows of physical power.

He may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a frightening roar. Despite these displays and the animals’ obvious physical power, like mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas are generally calm and non-aggressive unless they are disturbed.

Lowland Gorillas mainly feed on vegetation diet as they eat roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp.

Female lowland gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny—weighing four pounds (two kilograms)—and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur.

There are gorilla safaris to see the western lowland gorillas in a few countries; Congo (Brazaville), Gabon and Central African Republic.