Gorilla, Western Lowland
Gorilla gorilla gorilla
Secondary forests where the open canopy allows sunlight to trickle to the ground. This means more food can be found for the gorillas.
Mainly shoots and leaves, but they will also eat fruits and bark. It's a misconception that gorillas eat only fruit; there is a lot of competition in the forest for those resources so gorillas only eat fruit infrequently.
Height: 1.5 - 1.8 m (5 - 6 ft)
Male: 160 - 200 kg (350 - 450 lb)
Female: 70 - 115 kg (150 - 250 lb)
Western lowland gorillas are typically lighter coloured than their Eastern relatives, and often have a reddish-brown forehead.
Females give birth about once every 4 years, starting at approximately 10 years old. Sadly, a high mortality rate means that surviving offspring are only produced once every 6 - 8 years. Young nurse for about 3 - 4 years; their mothers provide them with food, transportation, and socialization. Males don't interact much with young, but do protect them. Gorillas live in groups of 5 - 15 individuals, typically with one dominant male known as a silverback, because of his age-related greying hair.
Though they are the largest primates, gorillas are very peaceful. They seek to resolve confrontations with displays, rarely coming to blows. These displays often involve noise-making including chest beating, which is done with cupped hands (not fists) and bluff charges.
Gorillas live deep in rainforests that today are being cleared at a very efficient rate. This disappearance of their habitat allows easy access to gorillas for poachers who hunt them for food in what is called the bushmeat trade. Part of their range is being plowed for the mining of coltan (columbite-tantalite), a mineral used in the capacitors of things like cell phones and laptops. You can help reduce the need for coltan mining by recycling your cell phone. Learn how here.