Lowland Gorillas are usually found in lowlands and the total population of the gorillas is currently over 50,000 in the whole world. Mainly the lowland gorillas are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa Republic, and Angola. The word gorilla comes from a Greek word “gorillai” meaning the hairy women.
Democratic Republic of Congo has two national parks where lowland gorillas can be found which include; Kahuzi Biega national park and Odzala national park. Gorillas are smaller compared to mountain gorillas for example gorillas weigh 65- 180kgs while mountain gorillas weigh 135 – 220 kilograms.
Females are usually smaller and weigh almost half of the male’s weight. Subspecies in a family are called troops and each troop is headed by one dominant male. The family consists of a mature male, females and their offspring. At the age of 15, males split from the family and start making and organizing their own family groups.
The reproduction and multiplication of Lowland gorillas
There is no fixed breeding season for gorillas and females menstruate every 28 days. A single juvenile is born with 2kg weight after a period of 9 months of the gestation period, juveniles are nursed by their mothers for 3-4 years. Females sexually mature at the age of about 7 to 8 years.
How they don’t usually produce before the age of 10 years. Male gorillas take long to mature, become strong enough to reproduce at almost the age of 15 to 20 years though the dominant silverback is the only mature male that has breeding rights. Lowland Gorillas are polygamous in nature and the dominant silverback mates with several females in his troop.
The way of feeding
Gorillas are mainly herbivores meaning they feed on green plant species and an adult gorilla is capable of consuming approximately 18 to 20 kilograms of food per day. Gorillas eat fruits of more than 100 species of trees totaling to 67 percent of their diet, 17 percent are leaves and the rest are seeds, termites, caterpillars, ants, stems, larvae among others.
The dominant silverback (mature male gorilla) takes the responsibility of looking for what to feed on. The silverback has the right to feed first before other members of the family. The silverback protects the troop and fights to death in case of any attack against the family.
Gorillas have more than 25 vocals which they use to communicate, however the eye contact can be used during mating period for mutual understanding between the female and the silverback. Deep rumbling belches suggest contentment and are heard frequently during feeding and resting periods.
Conflicts are solved through a sequence of about 9 steps which include the following; progressively quickening hooting, symbolic feeding, rising bipedal, throwing vegetation chest beating with cupped hands, one leg kick, sideways running, two to four-legged slapping and tearing vegetation and thumping the ground with palms.
Life span of Lowland Gorillas
Gorilla’s life span is normally about 35 years to 40 years of age.
Due to the hairy body, gorillas are able to withstand very low temperatures even when the temperatures drop to freezing point. On cold days, gorillas stay together and close to their sleeping areas while not moving thus maintaining warmth during cold weather.
Read more about the western Lowland gorillas here.