The Western lowland gorilla is a great ape and is the most numerous and widespread of all gorilla subspecies.
The Western lowland gorilla can be found in the rainforests and swamps of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea and large areas of Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
Their scientific name is: Gorilla gorilla gorilla.
Western and Eastern Lowland Gorilla
There are two main species of gorilla; Western and Eastern.
The Western species are divided into the Western Lowland Gorilla and the Cross River Gorilla, which can be found in Cameroon and Nigeria.
The Eastern gorillas are divided into two further subspecies – the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Grauer’s gorilla) and Mountain Gorillas.
Size and weight of the Western Lowland gorilla
Western lowland gorillas are slightly smaller than other gorilla subspecies and they have brown-grey fur and auburn chests and heads. They have wider skulls, a more pronounced brow and smaller ears.
Weight: up to 440 pounds.
Height: 4-5.5 feet.
Gorilla family dynamics
Gorilla groups are led by a dominant silverback who will defend his family to the death from any threat including that from humans.
Western lowland gorillas have the smallest family family groups of all gorillas consisting, on average, between 4-8 members.
Lifespan in the wild can be up to 40 years.
Gorillas are primarily herbivorous and they spend most of the day eating. They do take a break at midday when the adults take the opportunity for a nap and the youngsters play amongst themselves.
Western lowland gorillas show more tolerance towards non-relatives and gorillas from other groups and this appears to be unique to this particular subspecies.
Threats to their survival
Humans are the greatest threat to the survival of the Western lowland gorilla.
Human diseases such as influenza and ebola decimate family groups. Poaching, taking individuals for zoos and circus entertainment, medicine men who use gorilla body parts for charms, poisoning, habitat loss from illegal logging and mining all take their toll on populations.
Gorillas do not stand a chance without our help.
Status: critically endangered.
How you can help
Please show your support in any way that you can. It can be as simple as spreading the word to family and friends, or by donating directly to the wildlife organisations that are working every day to protect these majestic animals.
We simply cannot lose them.