Species of gorillas in Africa

Gorilla species in Africa

What are the Species of gorillas in Africa? 

How many gorilla species are in Africa? Gorillas are the largest of the apes and the most similar to humans in personality and behavior, sharing nearly 98% of their genes. They exhibit human-like behaviors such as happiness, sadness, and family settings.

There are two gorilla species: Western and Eastern gorillas, which are further subdivided into two subspecies. Western gorillas are further subdivided into two subspecies, the Cross River Gorilla and the Western Lowland gorilla, whereas Eastern gorillas are further subdivided into Eastern lowland gorillas (now known as Grauer's gorillas) and the famous Mountain gorillas.

Similar characteristics include being strong primates with powerful arms, huge chests, large nostrils, and black or brownish hair. They stay in groups led by a dominant silverback. A gorilla family or group can have four to thirty members, and they can live up to 35 years in the wild and 45 years in a cage. Younger males, adolescents, females, and their offspring may be included in the group. The relationship between the females and the dominant silverback is solely responsible for the stability of a gorilla group. Gorillas are more composed, tranquil, tenacious, and intelligent.

They are herbivores that eat leaves, roots, fruits, and snails in addition to other foods; they eat for over six hours each day. They enjoy sleeping together in nests constructed in both trees and on the ground because they enjoy being snuggly, especially at night. As they protect one another, this keeps them warm and secure. Their lifespan can reach 40 years, particularly if they remain in the wild. Since their population has decreased globally, they are now more at risk of extinction, which is why there a number of them being habituated.

What are the different Species Of Gorillas in Africa?

Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are only found in the Virunga Mountain regions of Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda where they can be trekked at $450, $1500 and $700 in the respective countries. In comparison to the Eastern lowland gorillas, they are lighter in weight and typically inhabit forests at higher elevations of 8,000 to 12,000 feet and on mountain slopes. Mountain gorillas have long, dense fur. They are protected from the chilly weather by their thick fur. They are only visible at Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage in eastern D.R. Congo near Virunga NP.

About 1,060 mountain gorillas still live in the wild, according to the 2018 census results. The habitat loss caused by ongoing human encroachment on forests and mountain slopes poses a threat to mountain gorillas as well. Due to these threats, they are compelled to move further up the cold mountain areas, putting their health at risk. They are the most endangered gorilla species.

Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Graeur's)

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is home to Eastern lowland gorillas. They can be found in the Itombwe Massif, Maiko National Park, Odzala-Kokoua National Park, and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks. They are the biggest subspecies of gorillas, with huge hands, short nose and hefty body. They have black coats, just like mountain gorillas, except their head and body fur is shorter. You are likely to encounter habituated families because they are the third most threatened of all gorilla subspecies.

Poaching and the destruction of their habitat pose a threat to them. In the last 20 years, their home area has decreased from 81,000 square miles to only 5,600 square miles. There are still about 7,500 Eastern lowland gorillas existing in the wild.

Western Lowland Gorillas

They are native to Central and western Africa's lowland woods. Despite being the smallest of the four gorilla subspecies, they are the most abundant. Over 350,000 are said to still be in the wild. They are the ones you typically encounter in zoos.

Their grayish fur sets them apart from other gorilla species. Despite being the most abundant, it is thought that their population has decreased by 60% during the past 25 years. This is as a result of people exposing them to illnesses like Ebola virus, which killed over 30% of the world's population. They can be found in zoos all throughout the world or in one of West/Central Africa's national parks.

Cross River Gorillas

The highlands and forested mountains of Cameroon and Nigeria are home to Cross River gorillas. They are located in the farthest north and west of Africa. They are roughly 5 feet long and weigh 440 pounds. Less than 350 of them are still living in the wild, making them rarest of all gorilla species. Because they live in a confined area and interact with people more frequently than other gorilla species, Cross River gorillas are more vulnerable to extinction. They are more aggressive and challenging to research because of their frequent interactions with humans. The governments of Nigeria and Cameroon have put policies in place to stop their extinction.

The relevance of primates to the ecology has also been brought to the attention of nearby local communities. Gorilla trekking is not possible with Cross River gorillas as they have not been habituated yet and you cannot see them in zoos.

Other species of gorillas can be easily visited any time of the year since they dwell on gentle slopes; however mountain gorillas can be better visited during dry seasons because they reside in mountains and these become quite slippery and hard-to-reach during wet seasons.