Western Lowland Gorillas

The Western Lowland Gorilla

Introduction The Western lowland gorilla is one of the two critically endangered gorilla species that lives in Montane, forests and swamplands. They are found in Central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. This is a smallest subspecies of endangered gorillas with exceptional size and strength and they have a big sexual dimorphism. They have no tail but their bodies are covered by black hair except their face, hands and feet. The hair at the back and the hump of the male gorillas tend to turn grey or sometimes it’s lost as they get to their old age and this coloration is the reason as to why male gorillas are called silverbacks. They have proportionate hands and their nails all on like those of humans with very large thumbs. Their muzzles are short, they have prominent brow ridges, large nostrils and short ears and small eyes as well. They have large muscles of the broad jaws and strong teeth which are used to crushing fruits, vegetables and other edibles. A male standing can be at a height of 1.8m (5 to 6ft) with a weight of over 260kgs and a female western lowland gorilla if erected standing can reach 1.4m (4ft) and can weigh over 14okgs. Western lowland gorillas usually stand upright but move in a hunched, quadrupedal fashion with their hands curled and their knuckles kissing the ground. Behaviors These gorillas always travel between 8 to 45 km2 in an area and they do not always mark boundaries and the neighboring groups always overlap the ranges. The group usually prefers certain area in their home range and always follows a seasonal pattern depending on the availability of the ripening fruits and always move 3-5 km per day. Gorillas that feed on high energy foods that vary spatially and seasonally tend to have greater day ranges than those that feed on low quality but more consistently available foods. Gorillas that live in larger groups always tend to move longer distances looking for sufficient food. Male gorillas can easily move a lone through the gorilla groups before reaching the sexual maturity. Males always leave their natal groups to start a bachelor stage that usually lasts for a several years either in solitary state or in a nonbreeding group of gorillas. This stage also the female gorillas go through it however for the females they have to be in the breeding groups. The breeding group always consists of a silverback which is a male gorilla, three adult females and their off-springs. The role of a silverback is to protect the family, females always make bond with fellow females that they are in the same natal groups only and form strong bonds with males and males always fight roughly to win the hearts of the female gorillas. A group of gorillas that is led by one or more silverbacks and in cases where you find more silverbacks it is either a father and or a son. In groups where you find only one male it is believed to be basic of social group gradually expanding due to reproduction or other members migrating in. Western lowland gorillas live in a smallest group with an average eight members per group. It is always a duty of the male to organize group activities for example eating, direction to go to and nesting. Any member that might want to challenge the directives of the silverback, it always throws things at them, make rough charges, roars and pounds its chest although the silverback shows all these expressions, gorillas are known to be so calm and gentle unless they are interfered with. The young ones between three to six years like human children, spend most of their time chasing each other, playing and climbing tree branches.
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