The Eastern low land Gorilla is subspecies of eastern Gorilla generally found in the mountainous forest of Democratic Republic of Congo. It is considered as the largest among the four Gorilla subspecies. In comparison to Western lowland Gorillas the population of Eastern lowland Gorillas is less. A report in 2004 stated that there were only 5000 Eastern lowland Gorillas in the world which comes down to 3800 in 2016 whereas the population of Western lowland Gorillas is 100000. These gorillas are also known as Grauer’s Gorilla.
Interesting Facts About Eastern lowland Gorilla
- The female Gorillas can gave birth to 2 to 6 babies during the 40 year lifespan they have and before that they have a gestation period (this is the period female gorilla carries the baby in her womb before giving birth) whose time period is eight and a half months almost same as humans
- The female Gorillas generally breed at the age of 10 years and males breed usually at the age of 15
- The baby Eastern lowland Gorilla is dependent on the mother till the age of 3 to 4 years and afterwards they can afford to live without their mother.
- An adult Gorilla requires 18 kilogram of food in a day as it allows them to maintain their health and size.
The Eastern lowland Gorillas are generally herbivorous just like other gorillas, meaning they only eat plants. These gorillas eat every part of plant including leaves, root, flower, stem, bark, fruit and even fungi. They also eat vines as well as smaller ground plant and foraging in the trees. Although they are mostly herbivorous but sometimes this species also eat insects.
Eastern lowland Gorillas lives in extremely restricted areas. These gorillas are endemic to Democratic Republic of Congo and there is no other place on earth where they can be found. They are mostly found in the Eastern side of the country. The Eastern portion is around 2900 square miles which means the whole population of these gorillas lives in area slightly larger in comparison to state of Delaware.
Eastern lowland Gorillas are very peaceful and highly sociable, prefer to lives in group. A group generally consist one silverback, several numbers of females along with their offspring. Each group of these Gorillas has one male leader who dominates the group. The males of the group protect it from any possible danger.
Not much is known about the history and behavior of these Gorillas due to the civil war in Democratic Republic of Congo. However there are some aspects of their social behavior that have been studied. One third of groups of gorillas have two grown up males. Most primates bonded together by relationship between females, the pattern similar to many human families.
Eastern lowland Gorillas are considered to be the largest subspecies of Gorilla. The average weight of males is 160 kilograms and that of females is 90 kilograms. The maximum average height of males is 1.7 meters and whereas the females reach 1.5 meters. These gorillas have large hands, short muzzle and stocky body. Their thumb is larger in comparison to their fingers. The face, hands, feet and ears are bare whereas the chest lacks hair in old males. These gorillas have strong skeleton with big skull when compared with the size of rest of their body. Just like other gorillas, these gorillas also have a thick skin. These gorillas have long and well developed arms.
A normal East lowland Gorilla has a life span of 35 years but in captivity they can last for about 50 years.
The population of Eastern lowland Gorillas is declining heavily mainly due to illegal poaching, habitat loss, mining and armed conflicts in Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to civil unrest in the country, the resources get deteriorated that adversely affect the conservation of Gorillas.
As humans have moved to Gorilla’s territory, they have fragmented and destroyed most of the animal’s forest in order to make room for livestock and farming. Only small portion of Gorilla’s range lies in the protected areas like Kahuzi-Biega National park. Along with this, illegal mining also possess a great threat for these species. The illegal mining of diamond, tin, gold and coltan is widespread in the range of Eastern Lowland Gorilla. This mining encourages civil unrest in the area and also attracted migrants who hunt animals for medicine, bush meat and also capture the infant gorillas for trade.
Eastern lowland Gorillas use to groom one another as it is a major occupation in the band of Gorillas. The offspring and silverback are groomed by their mother Gorillas as the gorillas preferred to remain clean and well groomed.
The female gorillas give birth to single infant after 8.5 months of gestation period. The baby Gorilla gets breastfeed by their mother till the age of three years. The baby starts crawling after nine weeks and can walk only after seven months. The infant gorilla lives with their mother till the age of four years and the female baby gets mature at 8 years and male at 12 years of age.
Due to the large size of Eastern lowland Gorillas, they have very few predators. Leopards and crocodiles are the only animals that possess threat to these gorillas and other than that humans are the biggest threat for these species as they are the reason behind their habitat loss and deforestation.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Characteristics
- The top speed in which Eastern low Land Gorillas can run is 40km per hour as due to their big size, they are not very fast runners.
- These Gorillas have so much strength that they can tear banana trees or break tough fibrous plants.
- These Gorillas have opposable thumbs which help them in peeling fruits and ease their living in jungle.
- Gorillas are usually gentle and social creatures. Their day is spent on feeding, resting and socializing but the majority of time is spent on feeding related activities.