Gorillas are perhaps the best known of all primates, besides ourselves of course! They are in fact the largest of all living primates, the closest relatives of which are chimpanzees and humans. You may be surprised to learn that the human genome differs by only 1.6% on average from the sequences of corresponding gorilla genes!
|What is a gorilla? - Fiver Löcker|
Wild gorillas are only found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Africa. The genus is divided into two species, the mountain gorillas and the lowland gorilla. The two species are separated by the Congo River and its tributaries.
The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes which ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres. Lowland gorillas live in dense forests, lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level. The western lowland gorillas are found in central west African countries while the eastern lowland gorillas can only be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Sadly the existence of all gorilla species is under threat. The eastern gorilla is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, with the mountain gorilla, the western gorilla and its subspecies are also listed as Critically Endangered. Mountain gorillas are the most severely endangered, with an estimated population of just 620 individuals left in the wild. There are no mountain gorillas in captivity.Their survival is at risk mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching for the bushmeat trade.
|What is a gorilla - Brocken Inaglory|
The eastern gorilla is more darkly coloured than the western gorilla, with the mountain gorilla being the darkest of all. The mountain gorilla also has the thickest hair. The western lowland gorilla can be brown or grayish in colour with a reddish forehead. In addition, gorillas that live in lowland forests are more slender and agile than the more bulky mountain gorillas. The eastern gorilla also has a longer face and broader chest than the western gorilla
Adult male gorillas are known as silverbacks due to characteristic silver hair on their backs reaching to the hips. Female gorillas are shorter with smaller arm spans.
Brocken Inaglory file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Fiver Löcker file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
For related articles click onto the following link:
ALL ABOUT GORILLAS
WHAT DO GORILLAS EAT?
WHAT IS A GORILLA?