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Types of Gorillas in Africa – Different Kinds of Gorillas in Africa

The types of gorillas in Africa: There are only two (2) types of gorillas in Africa; the Eastern and Western gorilla. However, the Western gorillas are large in number compared to Eastern gorillas. The two types of gorillas are broken down into different sub-species with Western gorilla species constituting of the Western Lowland (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and the Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The Eastern gorilla type (Gorilla beringei) is comprised of the Mountain gorillas/Gorilla beringei beringei and Eastern Lowland gorilla/Gorilla beringei graueri.

4 sub-species of gorillas

Mountain gorillas/Gorilla beringei beringei

Mountain gorillas unique sub-species of the Eastern gorilla thrive only in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C). Mountain gorillas are slightly lighter than the Eastern Lowland gorillas. They live in forests at altitudinal range of 2500-4500m and prefer montane areas.

A total of not more than 1063 of mountain gorillas are still left on earth and only possible to see while you are on gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Gorilla trekking to see mountain gorillas is only possible in the 4 National Parks- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- Southwestern Uganda; Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri- Rwanda and the Virunga National Park of Congo.

Eastern Lowland gorilla/Grauer’s gorilla

Eastern Lowland GorillasThe Eastern Lowland gorillas are sub-species of Eastern gorilla living in the D.R. Congo and particularly, trekking to see them is done in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. However, they also live in Itombwe Massif, Maiko National Park and Odzala-Kokoua National Park. The Gorilla beringei graueri is notably the biggest of the 4 sub-species of gorillas. The Graueri gorillas feature stocky bodies, larger hands and short muzzle. Graueri gorillas have black coats though on the head or body, the hair is shorter.

The Graueri gorillas are classified as the critically endangered species and the main threats include among others poaching, habitat loss and spread of infectious diseases. Not more than 7500 of these gorillas still thrive on earth.

Western Lowland gorillas

Facts about Western Lowland GorillasThe Western Lowland gorillas/Gorilla gorilla gorilla is another interesting sub-species of gorillas living mainly in lowland forests. These particular sub-specie thrives in the Central and West Africa specifically in Gabon, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of the Congo.

Unlike mountain gorillas/eastern lowland gorillas, the western lowland gorillas are the smallest but exist in large numbers accounting up to about 350,000. Other than the wild, western lowland gorillas also exist in most of the zoos and easily identified using their distinct greyish or reddish fur.

Cross-River gorilla/Gorilla gorilla diehli

In 2000, the Cross-River gorillas were classified as distinct subspecies and in 2006, IUCN listed them as the critically endangered. The Cross-River gorillas thrive mostly in 3000sq.miles in highlands and forested mountains in Nigeria and Cameroon. They weigh up to 440pounds and capable of standing 5ft tall. About 350 Cross River gorillas still exist in the wild and vulnerable to extinction.

About gorillas

Gorilla are among the interesting great apes and also the closest human relatives in the wild sharing 98% of their DNA with us. They come after chimpanzees and bonobos and like humans, they display common traits such as emotions. Wild gorillas live only in most tropical forested areas in Africa, marshes, wetlands, mountains and highlands.

Gorillas feature muscular arms, large nostrils, brownish or black hair, thick chests making them a few powerful primates on earth. Most parts of their bodies are covered by hair excluding feet, hands, face and chest. Gorillas walk a means best referred to as knuckle-walking using all the 4 legs. A mature adult male gorilla is the leader of a family of gorillas and he is best known as silverback.

Gorillas live in families a common trait they with humans and a massive silverback is in charge of a family. A massive silverback weighs between 135 and 220kgs and in each family, there can be 4-30 members with lifespan of 35 years in the jungles and 45 years in captivity. In a single family of gorillas, there are babies, females, juveniles, black backs, and more. Females give birth to single babies and have gestation period similar to humans- they take 8-9 months. Sexual maturity age for females is 10 years and for males 15 years.

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