Facts about this animal
In bipedal standing adult Western Lowland Gorillas, males are about 175 cm high. They have an armspan of about 260 cm and weigh about 140-180 kg. In zoos where they may get food too rich in energy and have not enough exercise, weights of up to 270 kg have been recorded. Females are considerably smaller and weigh about 65-135 kg.
Gorillas are active during the day. They wake at dawn and feed for a few hours, choosing juicy leaves and shoots which they pick and peel with their hands, usually while sitting down. Beds are simply a mat of nearby vegetation thrown together to form a cosy nest. They prefer to live in areas where there is a mass of low-level juicy vegetation: old river beds, old clearings or areas affected by landslides. Gorillas are sociable and have a very structured family life, consisting of one dominant silverback male that will drive out other mature males from the group as they mature. Usually groups contain about five animals. The dominant male makes most of noise! He has a range of calls that alert the group of approaching predators. His chest-drumming display can be heard a couple of kilometres away. This display serves to keep neighbouring groups out of sight of one another. If they do meet, the males may smash plants around, charge and beat their chests in a display of strength. The females are rather quieter, with a vocabulary of grunts and grumbles.
A female gorilla can live up to 40 years and may produce up to 10 young in her lifetime. Of these perhaps only two or three will survive to maturity. Like human children, the young require years of care and attention before they are able to take their place in gorilla society.
The wild population of Western lowland gorillas is estimated somewhere between 90,000 and 110,000, but this could be a big over estimate. Many gorillas are killed for the 'bush meat' trade where animals are shot by hunters and the meat sold to traders in towns and cities. The ebola virus is also causing problems for the remaining populations.
Conservation Status: IUCN listed Critically Endangered
For more information on these animals please visit the WAZA website - www.waza.org/en/zoo/choose-a-species/mammals/primates/apes/gorilla-gorilla
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