Gorillas are herbivorous apes inhabiting the forests of central Africa. They are divided into two;
- Eastern Gorilla
- Western Gorilla
Gorillas are the most powerful and striking animals not only for their size and force but also their gentle human like behaviour . The DNA of gorillas is similar to that of humans from 95%-99%. Gorillas are totally different from monkeys for a variety of reasons, gorillas have got a more developed brain like that of humans, they are larger, have got no tails, they walk upright for a longer period of time . Gorillas are highly intelligent and they use sign language, they can laugh and the same time be sad, they grieve, and have a rich emotional live, they develop very strong family bonds. Gorillas live in groups called troops, they are ground dwelling and they live in groups of 6-12 with the oldest and largest silverback leading a family of females. The silverback makes decisions on when his group wakes up, sleeps, eats, moves, and when to rest night. He protects his family at all times from the enemies. The silverback tends to be very aggressive. Gorillas construct a nest on where to sleep at night with leaves or any other plant materials. Mother gorillas share nests with their nursing infants. Young ones tend to leave their family as they grow older.
Each time of the day has its purpose for a troop of gorillas. Mornings and evenings are feeding time. In the middle of the day gorillas take a nap, play with one another or groom one another. At night gorillas settle down in beds made of leaves and twigs.
WHAT GORILLAS EAT
Gorillas are generally herbivores and usually their diet depends on where they live. Mountain gorillas mostly eat foliage, such as leaves, stems, pith, shoots, fruits, veins, tree pulp, celery, tree bark, roots. They basically eat vegetation.
Gorillas lifespan is normally between 35- 40 years. Zoo gorillas may live 50 years or even more.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GORILLAS
Gorillas are the largest primates. They are stock animals with broad chest and shoulders, larger hands and fore arms that are much shorter than the upper arm. The face is black and hairless with small eyes that are close together and a large prominent nostrils.
Adults are called silverbacks with an area of white hair on their back. Adult males are identified by a sagittal crest along the midline of the skull.
Gorillas have got patchy distribution.
Gorilla infants are helpless at birth and weigh 3–4 lbs. They learn to crawl about 2 months and walk by the time they are 8-9 months. Gorilla mothers nurse their babies up to 3–4 years.
Mating season: Thought out the year.
Gestation period; 8 – 5 months.
- Mountain Gorillas live in Uganda, Rwanda, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and on green and also in the volcanic mountains. Mountain gorillas are the most common specie habituated for tourism. Travelers can visit the habituated families on gorilla safaris in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.
- Eastern Lowland gorillas live in Eastern Congo – Kahuzi Biega National Park and Maiko National Park
- Western Lowland gorillas are found with in 6 countries and live with the forests of central and Western Africa.
CLASSIFICATION OR TAXONOMY:
The classification or taxonomy of gorillas according to the Integrated Taxonic Information System (ITIS) is as follows:
Sub kingdom : Bilateria
Infra kingdom : Deuterostomia
Phylum : Chordata
Sub phylum : Vertebrata
Infra phylum : Gnathostomata
Super class : Tetrapoda
Class : Mammalia
Sub class : Theria
Infra class : Eutheria
Order : Primates
Sub order : Haplorrhini
Infra order : Simiiformes
Super family : Hominoidea
Family : Hominidae
Sub family : Homininae
Genus and species: Gorilla gorilla, Gorilla beringei
Sub species : Gorilla gorilla gorilla ( Western lowland gorilla)
- Gorilla gorilladiehli ( Cross River gorilla)
- Gorilla beringei graueri ( Eastern lowland gorilla )
- Gorilla beringei beringei ( Mountain gorilla)