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Western Lowland Gorilla Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Gorilla gorilla gorilla
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Primates
  • Range

    Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea

  • Habitat

    Tropical secondary forest: the herbs, shrubs and vines that make up its diet grow best where the open canopy allows plenty of light to reach the forest floor.

  • Niche

    Western lowland gorillas are herbivorous, feeding mainly on leaves and stems, althoug they never strips one site completely. The western subspecies takes a higher proportion of fruit—a more limited resource—which appears to limit troop size to 5–10 individuals.

    Troops consist of a dominant silverback plus a harem of females with their young, including subadult males. Lone males occur, and troop ranges can overlap.

    The species is diurnal (active during the day) and mainly terrestrial. Gorillas walk on the soles of rear feet and the knuckles of forelimbs. They will build nests on the ground or in trees (especially young gorillas).

  • Life History

    Mating is non-seasonal, with a single young born after a 9-month gestation period. Infants weigh 4–5 pounds. They cling to dam within a few days of birth, crawl at about nine weeks, walk at about five months and are weaned at 2–3 years. Females mature at 7–8 years, males later. Females leave these troop to join other troops or lone males; adult males leave without conflict.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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