Name: Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei)
Status – Endangered (EN)
Height – Up to 1.7 metres
Weight – Up to 160 kilograms
You wouldn’t want to annoy this guy! The largest of the living apes, this mighty strong primate is famous for its intimidating chest-beating displays. It also likes to eat its own poo to help absorb more vitamins from its diet of plants and seeds. Best to avoid smelling its breath!
Where am I found?
Living in tropical forest, mountain gorillas, the most famous of the eastern gorillas, are found in just two remote areas, one in the Virunga Volcanoes, on the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the other in southwestern Uganda. The lesser known eastern lowland gorillas are only found in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What do I eat?
Eastern gorillas are herbivorous, and their vegetarian diet is mostly made up of leaves. Because of their large size and the fact that the leaves they feed on aren’t very nutritious, gorillas have to spend a lot of their time eating!
How do I live?
Eastern gorillas live in peaceful family groups, led by a large and powerful silverback male. Because there are plenty of leaves to eat and not much competition for food, eastern gorillas can live together in large numbers, and occasionally as many as 50 have been seen together!
Female gorillas only give birth only every three or four years, as they spend a long time raising each infant. Young gorillas are not fully weaned until they are around 3.5 years old. Males defend their families using their large size and intimidating chest-beating displays.
Why am I threatened?
Sadly, there are lots of threats to the Eastern gorilla. Snares set to catch other animals may accidentally injure and even kill gorillas, and some poachers deliberately trap infant gorillas.
Eastern lowland gorillas are at risk from the human conflict in the area they live, many have been shot dead in crossfire, or killed for food by people hiding in the forest.
A relatively new threat to the gorillas comes from tourism, as they are vulnerable to human diseases passed on by people keen to get up close to these majestic primates.