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Eastern lowland gorilla

Latin name: Gorilla beringei graueri

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Eastern lowland gorilla

The eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri – also known as Grauer’s gorilla), is found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The species is confined to the primary tropical forest of eastern DRC and most notably, Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

The population of eastern lowland gorilla has seen the most dramatic drop in numbers of all the gorillas, from 17,000 in 1994 to between 2,000 – 5,000 in just ten years.

Eastern lowland gorilla facts:

  • They are largely herbivorous and eat a wide range of plants, fruits, seeds, leaves, stems and barks as well as ants, termites and other insects
  • Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest on average of all gorilla subspecies
  • Males can weigh 250 kilograms and can reach two metres tall when standing

These endangered gorillas are threatened by habitat loss from illegal logging, agriculture and illegal settlements; poaching and wildlife trade of mainly baby gorillas and mining for coltan (used in mobile phones), cassiterite and gold.

The civil unrest that the DRC has seen over the last decade has also affected the national park’s infrastructure where these gorillas live and the rangers’ ability to monitor the gorillas on a daily basis.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been working with the wildlife management authority of the Democratic Republic of Congo – the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature – and partners on the ground to improve the protection of Kahuzi-Biega National Park and improve the livelihood of the communities living in the vicinity of the Park.

Main photo credit: Dr Peter Howard, African Natural Heritage

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Did you know?

Gorillas make a new nest from vegetation every night either on the ground or in a tree, depending on the gorilla species. Young gorillas share their mother’s nest until they are three years old.

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