FACTS ON GORILLAS

A Silverback Male Mountain Gorilla Takes A Break. Photo:D. Proffer

Gorilla Facts

Gorillas are the largest of the world’s ape species, and they are found only in central and western Africa.

This page is a summary of our facts on gorillas; follow the link to our more detailed gorilla facts page.

Gorillas are vegetarians, meaning they eat a variety of plant material. One of their favorite foods is wild celery.

An adult male gorilla can grow to a weight of 205 kilograms (450 pounds). Females are much smaller. Their habitat is the African rain forest, and they live in groups consisting of a dominant male and several females. The “silverback”—so named because of the gray fur on the backs of mature males—protects the family from predators such as leopards, as well as from other adult male gorillas. Silverbacks without a family of their own will sometimes try to oust another male from his own family; if he is successful, he takes over, and usually will try to kill any baby gorillas fathered by the defeated male.

There are four gorilla subspecies: two Western gorilla species, and two Eastern gorilla species. The mountain gorilla is one of the two Eastern species; they live in two, relatively small, tropical highland areas of east-central Africa. The two Western species are known as “lowland” gorillas.

The two Eastern gorilla species are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The two Western species are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. The main problems for all species of gorillas include habitat loss, caused by logging in their forest habitats, and illegal hunting. People in Africa often hunt them for food.

Follow the link above for more facts on gorillas.

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