Gorillas – powerful primates
Gorillas are the largest and most powerful of all primates. They live in the forests of Central Africa. Gorillas live in small family groups of several females and their young, led by a dominant silverback male. At night the family group sleeps in trees, resting on platform nests that they make from branches. The animals are nomadic so they build a new nest every day. The male reaches a height of about 1.8 meters and can weigh 220 kilograms, females are smaller – a maximum of 1.5 meters in height and weigh up to 98 kilograms. Gorillas live from 35 to 50 years. Female gorillas produce one infant after a gestation period of nine months.
These powerful primates are intelligent, peaceful and shy, and of little danger to humans. They have no real predators, although leopards will occasionally take young apes. Their worst enemy is a human. Hunters kill them for meat. Poachers catch baby animals for zoos. Their forests are cut down for farmland.
Scientists say that mountain gorillas are our close biological cousins. Mountain gorillas live in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For a long time it was thought that mountain gorillas were aggressive and cheeky. But scientists studying gorillas say that the animals are peaceful, gentle and social.
Mountain gorillas live in big family groups. Such a group can have up to 30 members. The leader is an older male who protects and defends his family. It’s usually the biggest and strongest gorilla. They like to look important and impressive. That’s why they sometimes pound their chests and show their teeth.
Gorillas are vegetarians. They eat leaves, shoots, fruit, bark and even nettles.
West Cross River gorilla is the rarest great ape on the planet, in the wild there are about 300 individuals.
Artists Tom Lane and Ged Palmer became authors of eco-project Wow! Gorillas.