The Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is the largest of the living apes. Males average 5.5 feet and weigh over 400 pounds. Gorillas can live 50 years or more in human care.
Gorillas are herbivorous, but their diet changes with availability of food. Vegetation, aquatic herbs, bark and even termites and ants are eaten.
Native to equatorial Africa, gorillas live in lowlands, swamps and forests.
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered because of commercial hunting, deforestation and disease. While countries in the gorillas’ range have laws prohibiting hunting and capture, enforcement is less than robust.
All gorillas are critically endangered due to habitat loss. This is largely due to the mining of a mineral called “Coltan”, which is found in many chargeable electronic devices. Unsustainable practices in agriculture are also contributing to the decline of gorilla populations as Palm Oil continues to be a popular oil used in packaged goods.
Silverback gorillas, sexually mature males with silvery-white hair, are powerful and exceptionally large. They preside over family groups called troops. Gorillas have a complex communication system, using facial expressions, chest-beating and vocalizations to communicate with each other.