Alfy K Nsamba
Gorilla Facts you need to know
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
There are actually two species of gorillas; The Eastern Gorilla and The Western gorilla Each species contains two further sub-species The Eastern Gorilla species consists of Mountain Gorillas and the Eastern Lowland Gorillas where as The Western gorilla species consists of the Cross River Gorillas and Western Lowland Gorilla. All Gorilla Species live in tropical and subtropical regions in Africa.
The predominant differences between the two species are
- Nose size
- The noise they make when they communicate with each other
- Body size, as Eastern Gorillas are often larger than the Western Gorillas.
Unfortunately the issue that binds all the Gorilla Species together is that they are all endangered due to loss of their natural habitat
The are more Western Lowland Gorillas than any other Gorilla sub - species. Their habitat is mainly central Africa, in Cameroon to the Republic of Congo. The exact numbers are hard to calculate as they live deep in the jungles of both those countries. The West Lowland Gorilla are smaller than the others and have a brown-grey fur and auburn chests, wider skulls, and smaller ears. They grow to around 5.5ft and can weigh 440 pounds.
Cross River Gorillas are found across the forested areas of Cameroon and Nigeria, an area about 3,000 square miles. They too grow to around the same height and weight as the Western Lowland Gorillas. Their habitat is constantly diminishing as forests are cleared for agriculture and livestock as well as poaching It is estimated that there are only around 200 - 300 left. The good news is that a camera trap in July 2020 captured 7 Cross River Gorillas in the Mbe Mountains in south-east Nigeria.
The Mountain Gorilla live at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet. They live in two geographical areas The Virunga Massif and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which are spread over Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain Gorilla Conservation was pioneered by Dian Fossey who tragically lost her life in this pursuit. The total population of Mountain Gorillas dwindled in the 1980's but they have made comeback and there are now over 1,000. There are no Mountain Gorillas in captivity so the only place to see them in in the wild.
Eastern Lowland Gorillas are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This sub - species is the largest of all the Gorillas, but despite their large size they too suffer from poaching and habitat loss. In around half a century their habitat has gone from 81,000 to 5,600 and their numbers have decreased by 50%.
Initiatives like World Gorilla Day on the 24th September 2020 help raise awareness of these endangered species and highlight the conservation efforts that are currently going on as well as strategising for future efforts all with a view to conserve Gorillas for future generations.
Learn more about what Conservation Through Public Health ( CTPH ) is doing in Gorilla Conservation in Uganda and why World Gorilla Day is important: Check out Her Royal Highness and Patron of CTPH, the Nnabagereka, Queen Sylvia of Buganda’s World Gorilla Day interview at 11.00 am (Uganda/East African Time) and CEO and Founder, Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka's live discussion at 2.30 pm and Instagram at 6.30 pm (Uganda/East African Time).