Gorillas are the world’s largest primates. They are members of the Hominidae family. This family is also known as the ‘Great Ape’ family, and also includes three other types of primate: orangutans, chimpanzees, and humans.
The Western Gorilla, despite having a larger estimated population of around 95,000, is rated Critically Endangered. This is because its population is declining faster than that of the Eastern Gorilla.
Gorillas live in the mountain and lowland forests of Central Africa. They live in small groups, led by a male gorilla known as a ‘Silverback’. The other members of the troop are females and young gorillas.
Larger troops may also contain one or more adult males, known as ‘Blackbacks’.
Silverback gorillas protect their troops against threats from other gorillas, and potential predators such as leopards.
Male gorillas are large, powerful animals, and can grow to be 1.8 m (almost 6 feet) tall, and weigh up to 180 kg (400 lbs). Females are significantly smaller.
Despite their fearsome appearance, gorillas are generally non-aggressive, and very rarely attack humans. Gorillas are herbivores (plant eaters), and eat a variety of fruit, shoots, and leaves.
Gorillas make nests out of branches and vegetation. These intelligent animals have also been observed using branches and other objects as simple tools.
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