Gorilla in trouble…
More than half of the world’s
endagered mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains on the border of Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The rest live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. There were only 880 left in 2018. Thankfully with a lot of work, this is changing slowly. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), conservation efforts have succeeded. In the Virunga Massif, there are now 604 individuals, up from 480 individuals in 2010. This puts the total global wild gorilla population at over 1,000 individuals.
There are two different species. The Western Gorilla and the Eastern Gorilla live in central and Western Africa.
Gorillas live for between 30 to 50 years. Males grow to 165-175 cm tall, and females to around 140 cm.
Females usually have one baby every four to six years. They stay pregnant for nine months like humans, and their babies weigh less than humans. however, they develop almost twice as fast.
As vegetarians, they eat a lot of leaves, shoots, some fruit and some grubs, caterpillars, snails, termites and ants.
Like humans, they can use tools, like sticks to do things like test the depth of water. Even more like humans, they have a language and teach their young to survive and search for food this way. Gorillas can learn basic human sign language and show emotions.
Mountain gorillas live in groups of up to 30. They are led by a single male, called a silverback because of the silver stripe they develop on their backs when they mature. Silverbacks protect the group and keep everyone in order. They schedule feeding trips, resting time, and travel.
Gorillas are still in danger. Their biggest threats are humans, especially poachers, the destruction of the forests where they live, and deadly diseases such as Ebola.
Find out more about gorillas from the World Wildlife Fund