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Western lowland gorilla

Latin name: Gorilla gorilla gorilla

Areas: | Cameroon |

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Western lowland gorilla

“While there are more western lowland gorillas than any other gorilla sub-species, they are highly threatened by hunting, the Ebola virus and the loss of their forest to uncontrolled development. We need to figure out ways for gorillas and humans to be able to live side by side, and quickly”.

Dr Chloe Hodgkinson

FFI Liberia Programme Manager

An image relating to Western lowland gorilla

The western lowland gorilla is found in the lowland tropical forests and swamp forests of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

These Critically Endangered gorillas are threatened by commercial hunting, deforestation and the Ebola virus.

Western lowland gorilla facts:

  • Western lowland gorillas are closely related to the Cross River gorilla, Gorilla gorilla diehli
  • They eat mainly fruit (when in season, less so during the dry season) but also leaves and shoots. They also eat bark and occasionally insects (termites and ants)
  • They live in family groups averaging 10 but with occasionally over 20 gorillas
  • Groups are led by one dominant male
  • Western lowland gorillas tend to be smaller than mountain gorillas and with shorter hair
  • They have larger home ranges than mountain gorillas, which are estimated to be up to 40 km2

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been working with local stakeholders in Cameroon, especially with the local organisation Centre International d’ Appui au Developpement Durable (CIAD) and the African Conservation and Development Foundation (ACDEF), to protect the western lowland gorillas in and around the Dja Reserve, a Man and Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.

Initially the project focused on developing possible gorilla-based ecotourism to improve rural livelihoods and to raise environmental awareness in local communities, especially amongst the marginalised Baka pygmies.

The project is now working to establish an early warning system against poaching supported by the recent advances in information technology.

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