Monday, 10 October 2011


Mountain Gorillas ant other gorilla species
Gorillas fit into the category of primates, and they are the largest of all of primates found in the world. There are only two species of them left in the world - the Eastern gorilla and the Western gorilla. Each one has a couple of subspecies as well that helps to further break them down into smaller groups.

Many people are fascinated with gorillas due to the fact that they have so many characteristics of humans. However, that is one of the reasons why so many are upset over these animals being in captivity. They feel like they see human eyes reflecting back from the gorillas in those cages. This can be extremely unsettling and an image that is hard to let go of.

In captivity, many gorillas will do things that they see humans doing. It can be gross too such as picking their nose or throwing up. Some of them have been taught to flip the bird too which isn’t very appropriate behavior. All of this though in a zoo setting really makes you wonder who is watching how through the glass.

Gorillas are extremely large animals and they can be aggressive when they feel that they or their families are in danger. The males are much larger than the females. Yet it is amazing to see these large animals be so kind and gentle towards the females and often their own offspring. They communicate with a variety of both verbal and non verbal methods.

Gorilla Species

Eastern Gorilla
Western Gorilla
They live in small groups that are called troops. There is an adult male who is in charge of what goes on within that troop. The leader takes on the responsibility of fighting to protect the troop, and they will do so with their life if they have to. The other males in the troop will also fight along side the dominant male to protect their families.

The fact that the gorilla is so smart is one reason why researchers enjoy them so much. Most of us remember the gorilla named Koko in the early 1980’s who was taught sign language. The use of these animals for research is still taking place in many areas but the degree of such research has been significantly limited from what it was a couple of decades ago.

That is mainly due to the efforts of animal protection groups who have fought hard for the humanity of the gorillas. Today many of them live in captivity in zoos around the world. They have very nice living areas that are more of a resemblance to what they have in the wild. At some of the large zoos they have acres of land where they are free to roam. Still, it just isn’t the same as being in the wild.

There are plenty of conservation efforts out there in place for the gorilla as well. This is because their numbers continue decrease at a rapid rate. The hunting of them by humans, various predators that attack the young, and the fact that their natural habitat continues to be taken away are all areas that are being covered through such conservation efforts.

There is no denying that gorillas are among the most fascinating creatures in the world. They have a rich history but what is in store for them as far as a future remains unknown and uncertain. Hopefully the right solutions will be put in place and their numbers can increase rather than continuing to drop.

In the wild gorillas can end up living for up to 50 years. Sadly, for too many of them though that lifespan is needlessly cut short. There is a great deal we understand about the lives of gorillas. However, we also need to pay more attention to their needs so that we can find ways to help them to thrive in the wild once again.
Top Gorilla Facts

There are many amazing facts about gorillas, some you are sure to already known and others you will be surprised to learn about. There are also plenty of myths about them that have circulated for so long that they are often confused for the facts. Now you will have the right information to work with instead of those myths that just don’t seem to go away.

The DNA of gorillas is very similar to humans – about 98% the same. This is more than any other animal in the world.

Gorillas often interact with others from other species and sub species. For the most part these types of interactions are very amicable.

When male gorillas are about 12 years of age they can develop silver coloring on their back. This is where the name silverback comes from but many people assume that is a species of gorilla but it isn’t.

A group of gorillas that live together are called a troop.

Silverbacks are the mature males in troops. They are very kind hearted though, and will even care for orphaned offspring on their own.

When the dominant male in a troop dies or is killed, then the troop will go their separate ways and find new groups to be a part of. However, if a younger male challenges the leader and wins then he becomes the new leader and the troop stays intact.

Gorillas aren’t meat eaters, that is a common myth.

They walk with their weight on the knuckles.

It is important to keep gorillas active when they are in captivity or they will end up suffering from various health problems including obesity.

Just about every single gorilla in the world has the same blood type – Type B.

Every gorilla has a unique fingerprint just like humans.

Gorillas are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are able to process information and to think independently.

Gorillas move every day for food and for exploration. They never sleep in the same place two nights in a row!

In spite of their very large size, for the most part gorillas are very calm animals.

They will never sleep in the same nest twice. They make a new one when they nap in the afternoon and before they sleep for the night.

Mother gorillas will continue to carry their offspring for about 1 ½ years even though they are able to walk when they are 5 months old.

Gorillas can walk upright but prefer to do so on their knuckles.

They have four fingers and a thumb just like humans.

Gorillas don’t have tails as many other primates do.

They are able to see in color. All of their senses are very highly developed.

They are able to grasp items with both their hands and their feet.

They are migrational animals, moving in search of food at the command of the leader. They may only move a short distance each day or they can travel several miles depending on what the food sources available happen to be.

The mortality rate for gorillas is about 40% during the first two years of life. They are often killed due to injuries, becoming orphaned, or various types of illnesses that can rapidly spread through the troop.

The grooming process is one that is very calming for gorillas, and they can go into a trance like state during it for hours and hours.
Mountain gorillas
The gorillas are the largest of the great apes and share 97% of their biology with human beings. Uganda is blessed with the mountain gorillas which are found in Bwindi and Mgahinga. Predominantly ground dwelling, mountain gorillas prefer open canopy forests that allow light to reach the forest floor; their diet consists of bamboo, roots, stems, leaves and vines.
Gorillas spend about 30% of their day feeding, 30% moving and foraging, and the remainder resting. They spend most of their time on the ground on all fours, but stand up to reach for food.
Gorillas generally live in family groups of varying sizes, usually including one or two silverback males. Adult males can weigh up to 200kg and be up to 6ft tall. Female gorillas actively choose their breeding partners as the male protection is essential to a successful reproductive cycle. Male partners are usually the older, stronger and more experienced silverbacks. Gorillas communicate in a variety of ways, including facial expressions gestures, and calls. Postures and gestures form an important element of intimidation.
Only present in moist tropical or subtropical forests in the Virunga Mountains along the borders of south west Uganda, North West Rwanda and eastern DRC.
Level of Protection:
The Mountain Gorillas are critically endangered. Unless you and me have more of an incentive to protect these beautiful creatures, the future of the gorillas will never be secure.

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