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Protecting gorillas

Intelligent and peaceable primates...


An endangered species

dijous, 22 de gener de 2009
The gorilla is a mammal of the primate order, and the biggest of all apes. Sadly, three out of the four subspecies of gorilla are critically endangered, according to the Red List of Threatened Species drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Amongst the main threats to the survival of gorillas are hunting (for food or medicinal products used in traditional medicine) and the destruction of habitat, especially due to forestry, agriculture and mineral extraction (coal, gold, zinc, uranium and coltan). To this we can add the effects of armed conflicts and diseases such as Ebola.

In light of this situation, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) have proclaimed 2009 as the Year of the Gorilla.

The purpose of the Year of the Gorilla is to encourage a range of initiatives aimed at protecting gorillas. The initiatives were set down in the Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and their Habitats, which came into effect in the middle of last year. The geographical area covered by the agreement covers ten African countries: Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda.

Intelligent and peaceable primates...

+ The gorilla is the biggest of all apes.
Gorillas and humans share a common ancestor. In fact, the gorilla is Man's second-closest relative, after the chimpanzee. Gorillas are large, intelligent animals. Males, quite a bit larger than females, can reach 1.8 metres in height and weigh more than 250 kg. The idea that gorillas are aggressive and ferocious creatures is completely wrong. On the contrary, they are very peaceable and kindly animals. Naturally, if they feel attacked, they defend themselves, which is when they are capable of adopting an aggressive stance.


+ The gorilla population is concentrated in equatorial Africa.
Gorillas live in groups of between six and 30, led by a dominant male known as a silverback. Diurnal animals, gorillas spend most of the day resting and eating. Being herbivores, they eat mainly fruits and leaves. They are basically terrestrial, although they are also able to climb trees in the tropical forests that are their natural habitat.

An endangered species

+ The Year of the Gorilla is already underway.
The gorilla population is concentrated in equatorial Africa. There are four gorilla subspecies: mountain gorillas, Cross River gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and western lowland gorillas. Especially threatened are the mountain gorillas - found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda - with 700 remaining, and the Cross River gorilla which lives on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria, where there are 300 left. The western lowland gorilla is the most numerous (150,000-200,000) although it, too, is under threat from various sources.



  • Gorillas usually live for 40 years.
  • Gestation lasts nine months and produces just one offspring or, very occasionally, two.
  • Gorillas sleep in a different place every night, either on the ground or in the trees.


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Com apuntar-s'hi


Goril·la de muntanya: interactiu de National Geographic.
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