Gorillas live in Central Africa. There are two main species of gorilla, the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla. The Western Gorilla lives in Western Africa in countries such as Cameroon, the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Gabon. The Eastern Gorilla lives in Eastern African countries such as Uganda and Rwanda.
Gorillas live in a range of habitats from swamps to forests. There are lowland gorillas which live in bamboo forests, swamps and lowland forests. There are also mountain gorillas which live in forests in the mountains.
WHAT DO THEY EAT?
Gorillas are mostly herbivores and eat plants. The plants they eat include leaves, stems pith, fruit, and bamboo. Sometimes they will eat insects, especially ants. A full-grown adult male will eat around 50 pounds of food in a day.
HOW BIG DO THEY GET?
Gorillas are the largest species of primates. The males are often twice as big as the females. The males grow to around 5 ½ feet tall and weigh around 400 pounds. The females grow to 4 ½ feet tall and weigh around 200 pounds.
Gorillas have long arms, even longer than their legs! They use their long arms to “knuckle-walk”. This is where they use the knuckles on their hands to walk on all fours.
They are mostly covered with brown hair. Gorillas from different areas may have different coloured hair. For example, the western gorilla has the lightest hair and the mountain gorilla has the darkest. The western lowland gorilla can also have greyish hair and red collared forehead. When male gorillas get older their hair turns white on their back. These older males are called Silverback gorillas.
ARE THEY ENDANGERED?
Yes, gorillas are endangered. Recently the Ebola Virus killed a number of them. This disease, coupled with people hunting gorillas, has put both species further in danger of extinction.
FUN FACTS ABOUT GORILLAS
- Gorillas have hands and feet like humans including opposable thumbs and big toes.
- Some gorillas in captivity have learned to use sign language to communicate with humans.
- Gorillas live in small groups called troops or bands. In each troop there is one dominant male Silver-back, some female gorillas, and their offspring.
- Gorillas live around 35 years. They can live longer, up to 50 years, in captivity.
- They sleep at night in nests. Baby gorillas will stay in their mother’s nests until they are around 2 ½ years old.
- Gorillas are generally calm and passive animals; however, the Silver-back will defend his troop if he feels threatened.
- They are highly intelligent and have now been observed using tools in the wild.
Personal Collection by Thompsons Africa, is proud to say our guide for visiting the Gorillas is Nelis Wolmarans.
Nelis has led both photographic and private family safaris in Southern, Eastern and Central Africa’s most iconic and game rich wildlife destinations. Nelis has an intimate knowledge of the animals, conditions, and requirements to capture breathtaking moments. His ability to transfer his passion and skills to a wide audience of photographers from novice to advanced sets him apart from other guides.
Having lived and worked in many of the countries to which he conducts tours, Nelis has a very good understanding of the various attractions as well as the travel requirements associated with these iconic destinations. Nelis believes in giving back to the communities and the environment in which he plies his trade, and his approach is underpinned by a sustainable and ethical approach to his and his clients’ interactions with community and nature.
Whilst on tour with Nelis, clients interested in photography benefit from post processing workshops between activities and these newfound skills will enable even the most amateur photographer to go home with an enviable portfolio of images.
Here are some of his photography whilst on tour with the beautiful Gorillas. To view Nelis website to see more of his outstanding work CLICK HERE.