Western Lowland Gorilla –Facts
Western Lowland Gorilla –Facts : The western lowland gorilla is also known as Gorilla gorilla gorilla ‘’ a critically endangered gorillas one of the two subspecies of the western gorilla that lives in montane, primary and secondary forest, even in lowland swampland in central Africa that is; Angola, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon. This species is the smallest amongst the four gorilla’s subspecies.
Despite the fact, western lowland gorilla is the only subspecies kept in zoos with the exception of Amahoro
Life Description of Western Lowland Gorilla
The western lowland gorilla is the smallest subspecies of gorillas but has exceptional size and strength.
They have no tail but have jet black skin along with coarse black hair that covers their whole body apart from the face, ears, hands and feet.
Male gorillas when they grow older the hair from the back turn into a grey color, making them to be known as Silverbacks.
They have large hands, thumbs with nails on all digits similar to those of humans
Western lowland has short muzzles, prominent brow ridges, small eyes and ears as well as large nostrils.
A male gorilla stands up to 1.8meter tall and weigh up to 270 kilograms.
Male gorilla also has average weight of 140 kilograms and female weight of 90 kilograms.
Males in the captivity reaches weights up to 270 kilograms
Behavior-Western Lowland Gorillas
Western lowland gorillas group move within a home range averaging from 8 to 45 square kilometers.
They do not display territorial behavior and neighboring groups often overlap ranges.
The group seems to follow a seasonal pattern depending upon the abundant of ripening fruits in the area.
Their large groups tend to travel greater distance in order to obtain enough food.
Male gorillas tend to travel alone and unusually move between groups before reaching the age of sexual maturity.
Male species also leave their natal group and go through a ‘bachelor stage’ that can happen for years either in solitary.
Female lowland gorillas are always part of a breeding group, consisting of one silverback male, three adult females and their offspring’s.
Female-western lowland gorillas tend to make bonds with other females in their natal group but forming a strong bond with males.
Male gorillas are aggressively competing for contact with females.
They live in the group of up to 30 gorillas
They are generally calm and non-aggressive unless they are disturbed
They spend their day playing, climbing trees, chasing one another and swinging from branches.
When they are threatened ‘’alpha male’’ can stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges and pound his huge chest with open hands while barking our powerful hoots.
Adult male western lowland gorillas like settling with other male members of their family.
They spend their climbing the trees, chasing one another and swinging from branches.
There group is composed of one male and gradually grow in size due to reproduction and new members migrating in.
Each group have a silverback that organizes group activities such as eating, nesting and travelling in their home range.
When the silverback is aggressed, he may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges and pound his huge chest with cupped hands while barking out powerful hoots.
They are slightly smaller size, brown grey coats and auburn chests.
They have wider skulls with more pronounced brow ridge and smaller ears.
Reproduction –Western Lowland Gorilla
Female western lowland gorillas do not produce many offspring’s because they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 to 9.
They only give birth to one infant after a gestation period of nearly 9 months.
Their newly born gorillas can be tiny weighing four pounds that helps them to cling to their mother’s fur.
Infants can ride on their mother’s backs from the age of four months through the first two or more three years of their lives.
Infants attempts to be depend on their mother for up to five years.
Female gorillas are more likely to engage and participate in sexual behavior and become sexually active with another female.
Female gorilla tends to participate in non- reproduction sexual behavior in order to increase their reproductive success through sexual competition.
A male gorilla has the opportunity to mate with the mother who otherwise would is unavailable while caring for her young offspring’s.
The western lowland gorillas live in rain forest, swamp forest, brush, clearing and forest edges, secondary vegetation as well as riverine forest.
They also live in primary and secondary lowland tropical forest at elevation about 1,300 meters above the sea level.
They can not be observed in areas that are close to human settlements and villages.
They also live in swamp forest that is considered as an important food source to them.
They feed on roots, shoots, fruits, wild celery, tree bark and pulp in their nature inhabits of the thick forest if central and west Africa.
During wet season they commonly consume fruits.
Adult gorillas can eat up around 18kilograms of food per day.
They can climb trees up to 15 meters in height in search of food,
Western low gorillas can eat a combination of fruits and foliage, in order to balance nutrients but depending on the time of the year.
They also tend to eat more fruits as opposed to foliage.
They all feed their diet on leaves, herbs and bark and during the rainy months of July and August fruits are abundant in the area.
They feed on fruits that is high in sugar for energy as well fiber.
Due to poaching and diseases, gorilla’s numbers have totally declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years and scientists say it might take more years to recover the number of gorillas.