1. The western lowland gorilla is found in the African countries of Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Gabon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. The easternmost range of the
western lowland gorilla is the Oubangui River (Fay, 1989).
2. The eastern lowland gorilla is found in eastern Zaire.
3. The mountain gorilla is found within limited mountainous regions of Zaire, Rwanda,
and Uganda at altitudes of 1,650 to 3,790 m (5,413-12,435 ft.).
4. Large rivers probably act as geographical barriers between the western and eastern
populations of gorillas.
1. Western lowland gorillas inhabit tropical rain forests, forest edges and clearings, riverine forests, swamps, and abandoned, cultivated fields.
Lowland gorillas at Busch Gardens, Myombe Reserve.
2. Though mainly terrestrial because of their large size, young gorillas regularly
climb trees to forage and play, and even silverbacks (adult males) cautiously climb
as high as 30 m (98.5 ft.) to forage for seasonal fruits (Williamson, 1990).
3. While preliminary studies placed western lowland gorillas in sunny, dry secondary
growth or open forests where dense vegetation thrives, recent field work revealed that
these gorillas use all forest types, including swampy areas, for nesting and feeding (Fay,
1. A western lowland gorilla band travels within a home range averaging 5.6 to 6.8 sq.
km (2.2-2.7 sq. mi.). Gorillas do not display territorial behavior, and neighboring groups
often overlap ranges (Dixson, 1981).
2. The band usually favors a certain area within the home range because of terrain but
seems to follow a seasonal pattern depending upon the availability
of ripening fruits.
3. Gorillas normally travel 0.5-1.0 km (0.3-0.6 mi.) per day (Dixson, 1981).
1. Accurate population estimates for gorillas are difficult to establish because their
range has not been thoroughly surveyed.
2. All gorilla populations are in
decline. Through the Endangered Species Act (1973), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
lists and protects all gorillas as endangered. The three subspecies are also protected by
strict trade regulations established by the Convention on International Trade for
Endangered Species (CITES), a coalition of over 100 countries.
3. According to current estimates, roughly 50,000 gorillas remain in Africa. While western lowlands are the most abundant, there are only about 2,500 eastern lowland gorillas and 600 mountain gorillas.
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
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