1. Gorillas are hunted by native people for food called bushmeat to eat or sell, for
body parts that are used for amulets or traded as souvenirs, and for protecting crops that
2. Loss of habitat due to agriculture and logging is the greatest threat to all the
African great apes. West central African countries have one of the fastest growing human
populations in the world, and all these people need food, water, and shelter.
1. Gorillas feed on seasonal fruits and disperse seeds in their dung as they travel.
This method of dispersal insures a healthy plant diversity within the habitat because the
seedlings grow at a site distant from the parent plants.&127;
2. Many plants and animals inhabit the same forests as gorillas. Preserving habitats
intact for one endangered species allows survival for all organisms within these areas.
1. Teaching local people about their unique heritage and its value ecologically,
economically, and aesthetically is imperative to support any conservation effort. For
example, 25% of the farmers at the edge of the mountain gorilla reserve could not even
describe a gorilla.
2. Studying the cultures of the people that live in these faraway countries may help us
gain insight into how to approach conservation challenges in Africa.
3. Continuing field research in the African forests on gorilla natural behavior will
help zoological facilities make the best choices in maintaining genetically secure captive
populations of lowland gorillas.
1. For many endangered species, zoological parks may become a last refuge. However,
more and more organizations participate in Species Survival Plans as developed by the
American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The AZA establishes breeding programs to
insure viable populations for the future.
2. In a captive situation, it is easier to study many aspects of animal biology that
are difficult or even impossible in the field.
3. Zoological parks allow the public an opportunity to see and learn about diverse types of animals, and thereby foster a conservation ethic for wildlife.
Film clip of the gorillas at Myombe Reserve, Busch Gardens, Tampa.
Scientific Classification|Habitat and Distribution|Physical Characteristics and Special Adaptations|Senses|Behavior|Diet and Eating Habits|Reproduction|Birth and Care of Young|Communication|Longevity|Conservation Issues|Bibliography|Specific Index
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
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