Western lowland gorillas
Western lowland gorillas: There are two types of gorillas in this world and the western gorillas are one of the two with the eastern gorillas being the second type. The Eastern gorillas are the most famous type of gorillas however there are still a number of western gorillas still existing in the world. The western gorillas are sub divided into two sub species that is the western lowland gorilla scientifically known as gorilla gorilla and the cross river gorilla that is only found in Cameroon and Nigeria.
The Eastern gorillas also have two subspecies that is the Eastern lowland gorillas scientifically known as the Grauer’s gorillas and the Mountain gorillas commonly visited in Uganda at the Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and the Mgahinga forest national park, in Rwanda at the Volcanoes national park and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga national park.
The western lowland gorillas are the smallest in size as compared to the other three subspecies of gorillas but are again the biggest in numbers. They have been estimated to be more than 360,000 individuals in the world and majorly found in the West of Africa and the Central of Africa in the different swamps and forests. Unlike the mountain gorillas, the lowland gorillas are able to survive in captivity and adapt to the new environment and that is why you are able to visit the lowland gorilla in a number of zoos worldwide. All gorillas visited in the zoo or living in captivity are western gorillas with the biggest numbers being the western lowland gorillas.
The central African countries where you may be able to visit the western lowland gorillas includes the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Angola with the biggest number of them living in the forests of the Republic of Congo. These western lowland gorillas are the smallest and an adult lowland gorilla can weigh up to 270 Kilograms when in the wild but while in captivity, the gorilla may weigh more than that.
The life expectancy while in the wild is estimated at 40 years while it is 60 years while in captivity. These are very social animals which have enabled them to live peacefully in captivity and they depend on each other to grow and increase in number. They even have tolerance for the non-relatives joining their family from another family. It is a common sighting to see the gorillas associating freely with different families without any fights as they feed and go about their day. This is only associated with the lowland gorillas unlike the other sub species of the river gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas.
Just like the eastern mountain gorilla, the lowland gorilla family is led by the dominant silverback usually male gorilla. These silverbacks lead with strength, compassion for other members in the group and is believed to be the most intelligent as they are in charge of protecting the rest of the members in the gorilla family. The male silverback is identified from the group by its silver/ grey hairs on the lower back.
An adult male gorilla is seven times stronger than an adult male which implies for one lowland gorilla to be taken down; you will need about seven strong men to come together. The humans and the gorillas share up to 99% of their DNA and this is even evident from the similar features on the body like the fingers, no tail, hairy bodies however for the gorillas, their hairs are longer and thicker but do not cover the face, ears, hands and feet.
These western lowland gorillas are very intelligent creatures as they use the various natural resources to make homes for the night, to hunt for food or even make their way through the forest. The adult gorillas lead the way usually and can tell how far into the forest are or how deep the water they are crossing through is and communicate with the rest of the team. Their communication is majorly sign language with a few sounds that can be heard in the forest on a number of occasions. The adult gorilla’s understanding level is often matched to that of a human child which is quite impressive for a wild animal.
The lowland gorillas are herbivorous animals and this implies they do not feed on flesh but only vegetation, tree roots and barks, small insects and wild fruits and eating is the activity that they spend most of the day doing and after rest and move around the forest. The adult western lowland gorilla can consume about 18 kilograms of feed per day or more and can move in the forest for up to 4 kilometers in search of the day’s meal.
Mating in the lowland gorillas is initiated by the female gorilla once she is ovulating and a female gorilla is ready to bear a young one at the age of 8 years. This is when the female gorilla leaves her family to join another in search of a lone male gorilla. The lone male gorilla once of age also usually leaves his family to start one of his own and avoid conflicts of competition with the ruling silverback and they both can start a family of their own. A female gorilla can only give birth to up to six off springs however they do not have a thing such a menopause in their cycle. The gestation period for the lowland gorillas in nine months just like in humans giving birth to one baby gorilla or twin baby gorillas on a few cases.
These western lowland gorillas are calmer compared to the other primates like the chimpanzees and monkeys that is why you can spend an hour in their presence on a lowland gorilla trek. Take on a visit to the above mentioned central African countries for a visit to the western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat.