Gorilla

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Western Lowland Gorilla 5Western Lowland Gorilla 5Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri

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Taxonomy (SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION)

CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)

ORDER: Primates

FAMILY: Hominidae (Great Apes and Humans)

GENUS/SPECIES: 

Western GorillaGorilla gorilla

Subspecies

Western Lowland Gorilla- Gorilla gorilla Gorilla

Cross River Gorilla- Gorilla gorilla Diehli

Eastern Gorilla- Gorilla beringei

Subspecies

Mountain Gorilla- Gorilla beringei beringei

Eastern Lowland Gorilla- Gorilla beringei graueri

Western Lowland Gorilla 2Western Lowland Gorilla 2Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas

LIFE SPAN: Gorillas normally live 35-40 years in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity.

HABITAT: Western Gorillas live in West Central Africa, and Eastern Gorillas inhabit East Central Africa. Gorillas typically live in forests, swamps, and marshes.

DIET:  Gorillas are herbivores (vegetation eaters) who eat fruits, leaves, bark, buds, and stems. They also occasionally eat small invertebrates such as ants, termites, and worms.

Western Lowland Gorilla 8Western Lowland Gorilla 8Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri

FUN FACTS

A male Gorilla is called a silverback (older male) and a black back (younger male)

A female Gorilla is called a gorilla (there is no word that distinguishes a female gorilla by her gender)

A young Gorilla is called an infant

A group of Gorillas is called a band or a troop

Gorillas, the largest of the primates, are closely related to humans. Ninety-eight percent of their DNA is identical to that of humans!

Gorillas have fingerprints like humans do

Gorillas spend their daily lives engaged in three basic activities- eating, traveling, and resting

Gorillas are quadrupedal, which means that they move around by walking on their knuckles.

Gorillas play a vital role in seed dispersal. Many large fruit trees depend upon these roaming herbivores to survive as gorillas scatter their seeds as they travel from place to place.

Western Lowland Gorilla 15Western Lowland Gorilla 15Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri

CONSERVATION STATUS

Eastern Gorillas are considered Endangered and Western Gorillas are considered Critically Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This means that Eastern and Western Gorillas are facing a high risk and an extremely high risk respectively of becoming extinct in the wild.  

It is likely that fewer than 5,000 Eastern Gorillas remain in the wild today. This is down from in 1995 when 16,900 were estimated to be existing in the wild.   Widespread habitat insecurity and poaching for bushmeat (especially around mining camps) have led to the Eastern Gorilla population to become increasingly fragmented and their numbers to be greatly reduced.

Western Gorillas are facing an 80% population decline over three generations (one generation equals 22 years according to the IUCN). This massive population decline is being caused by illegal hunting, disease and habitat loss.

Western Lowland Gorilla 14Western Lowland Gorilla 14Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP GORILLAS?

Educate yourself about Gorillas and their circumstances by reviewing the materials presented below in the Resources section and other materials you may be able to find on your own.

Post messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and send emails to your family and friends expressing your concern for the plight of the Gorillas and encouraging them to become involved as well.

Write letters to your elected officials in Washington DC and to leaders in nations where Gorillas live explaining why the conservation of Gorillas is important to you and encouraging these officials to work to help keep Gorillas from ever becoming extinct in the wild.

Help to improve the environment around you and around the world by working to reduce, recycle, and reuse. This will help eliminate waste and will greatly improve the world in which we all live.

And when you shop at Joe’s Cowtown Photos, you can designate Gorilla-centric programs and initiatives such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, and the World Wildlife Fund’s Adopt a Gorilla Program as the beneficiary of the charitable portion of your purchase. (For more information on Joe’s Cowtown Photos charitable giving program, Cowtown Photos Cares!, click here.)

Western Lowland Gorilla 3Western Lowland Gorilla 3Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri

RESOURCES

Animal Time’s Facts for Kids’ Gorilla Page

Gorilla SSP page

Encyclopedia Britanica’s Hominidae page

Gorilla World page

Reference.com’s Gorilla Page

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Eastern Gorilla Page

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Western Gorilla Page

172 Unusual Names for Groups of Animals Page

Endangered Species International Gorilla Page

Discover Wildlife 10 Amazing Facts about Gorillas

The White House Page

The United States Senate Page

The United States House of Representatives Page

Western Lowland Gorilla 7Western Lowland Gorilla 7Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri

Credits

The information provided in this Animal Info page was compiled by Joe Hoffman (St. Pius X Elementary School Class of 1986 and Founder/Owner of Joe’s Cowtown Photos) and was proof-read and edited by Anita Striegel (Retired 8th Grade Teacher from St. Pius X Elementary School, Joe’s former teacher!)

 

To access the Animal Info main page, click here!