The Eastern Lowland Gorilla, popularly known as Grauer's gorilla, is the largest living primate and the second most endangered species among gorillas. As per studies and observations on their behavior, these big and aggressive-looking animals are known to be smart and polite. Inclined towards vegetarian food, these apes occasionally rely on small insects and ants for food. Eastern Lowland Gorillas are social beings and carry a similar DNA to human beings. They live in groups and use different sounds to communicate, and they also use sign language to communicate with humans.
In the past 20 years, due to the unrest in their natural habitat, these gorillas have come under the Critically Endangered category, suffering a 70% population collapse. The species is also vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Humans, who are hunters for their meat or take them into captivity, are the main threat.
If you love learning about the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, you can also read about the pygmy slow loris and squirrel monkeys to know more interesting and fun facts about different animals.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla
What do they prey on?
Ants and insects
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
Male: 460 lb (210 kg) Female: 220 lb (100 kg)
How long are they?
How tall are they?
Male: 6.1 ft (1.85 m)
Females: 5.2 ft (1.6 m)
What do they look like?
Stocky body, large hands, and short muzzle
What are their main threats?
Humans and leopards
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Tropical rainforest, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Gorilla beringei graueri
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Interesting Facts
What type of animal is an Eastern Lowland Gorilla?
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is also known as Grauer's Gorilla, named after the scientist who discovered them. Their scientific name is Gorilla beringei graueri. They are a sub-group of the Great Apes family. Out of four gorilla subspecies, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla is the largest. Among primates, they are the most intelligent species.
What class of animal does an Eastern Lowland Gorilla belong to?
Gorillas are part of the Animal Kingdom. These mammals belong to the Hominidae Gray family.
How many Eastern Lowland Gorillas are there in the world?
Eastern Lowland Gorillas are the second most endangered subspecies of gorillas and are suffering from rapid habitat loss. A 2016 report by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Wildlife Conservation Society, and other partners documented a shocking 77% drop in Grauer's Gorilla numbers, from an estimated 17,000 in 1995 to just 3,800 individuals today.
Where does an Eastern Lowland Gorilla live?
Eastern Lowland Gorillas thrive in tropical rainforests and lowlands. They inhabit over 11,900 square km as of today. Eastern Lowland Gorillas are found in many National Parks, such as the Maiko National Park and the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. A few wildlife reserves are identified as dedicated spaces to preserve gorilla habitats.
What is an Eastern Lowland Gorilla's habitat?
The Eastern Gorilla can be seen living in lowland tropical forests. Home to the most significant Eastern Lowland Gorillas population, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, is one of the known protected areas but still could not offer them a haven from civil unrest across the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Different rebel groups and poachers sadly set up illegal mines out of these parks, threatening the gorilla population.
Who do Eastern Lowland Gorillas live with?
Eastern Lowland Gorillas live in groups called troops. They are non-territorial, highly sociable, and peacefully live in groups of less than 30. These groups generally consist of between one and four males, and these dominant males are called Silverbacks. The Silverbacks are strong, and each group has one dominant leader. Their duty is to protect the group from potential dangers. The group also will include some male and female babies and a few adult females.
How long does an Eastern Lowland Gorilla live?
Eastern Lowland Gorillas can reach ages of 35-50 in the wild. If they are in captivity, gorillas can live up to 60 years, but there is insufficient data to make sure of these estimates.
How do they reproduce?
A female gorilla gives birth to one infant at a time, after a gestation period of about eight and a half months. These babies are breastfed for the next three years. The baby starts crawling at nine weeks old and starts walking at about 35 weeks old. Infant gorillas typically stay with their mother for three to four years and mature at around eight years old (females) and twelve years old (males).
What is their conservation status?
The Eastern Gorilla is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Eastern Lowland Gorillas are endemic to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Due to high levels of human activity in the past 50 years, their numbers are estimated to decrease from 13,000 square kilometers to 7,400 square kilometers. This subspecies may now only occupy 13% of its estimated historical range.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Fun Facts
What do Eastern Lowland Gorillas look like?
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla berengei graueri) is identified by a stocky body, short muzzle, and large hands. Compared to other gorilla subspecies, this gorilla has short hair and teeth and long arms with thumbs longer than the fingers. The jaws and teeth are powerful enough to rip through trees to aid their vegetarian diet. The gorillas' skin is thick with a fat layer to protect them from different weather conditions. The coat is made up of dark-colored hair with a bare face, hands, feet, and ears. Eastern Lowland Gorillas are the largest and strongest primates, thanks to their mass muscle ratio to the rest of their body.
How cute are they?
Great Apes share almost 98% of similar DNA with human beings. So their actions are starkly similar to us, making it fun to watch them going about their day. Baby gorillas are all the more cute and adorable.
How do they communicate?
These Great Apes are usually quiet, but they can vocalize in many different ways. Historically, over 25 different sounds have been recorded. Eastern Lowland Gorillas communicate using barks, hoots, growls, and screams, with each of these sounds having a distinct meaning. They also communicate using laughs when they are happy. How cute?
How big is an Eastern Lowland Gorilla?
An adult male can grow to be almost 6.1 ft (1.85 m) tall, while its female counterpart can be close to 5.2 ft (1.6 m). The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is the largest gorilla and is slightly more giant than Western Gorillas.
How fast can an Eastern Lowland Gorilla run?
Rather than running, the Grauer’s Gorilla tends to climb from tree to tree. Younger ones are seen to jump from branch to branch, but this is rare among adult gorillas. Most gorillas climb into trees with fruits to gather food, while young gorillas climb trees to play.
How much does an Eastern Lowland Gorilla weigh?
A Grauer’s Gorilla male weighs up to 460 lb (210 kg), and a female can weigh up to 220 lb (100 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
There are no specific names for females of the Grauer's Gorilla species, but the males are called Silverbacks, referring to the silver line of fur males develop after maturity.
What would you call a baby Eastern Lowland Gorilla?
Young gorillas are called babies. These baby gorillas sleep with their mothers in the same nest for the first three years. They continue to stay with the troop until they reach maturity and decide to move on from their family groups.
What do they eat?
As per the Eastern Lowland Gorilla habitat, the Grauer’s Gorilla spends most of its day eating plants. Their preference remains vegetarian food from fields and countryside, consuming leaves, stems, and fruits. Contrary to popular belief, Eastern Lowland Gorillas do not eat bananas. However, they may destroy banana plantations to eat the nutritious pith from the tree. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla diet also includes ants, termites, and small insects, but this is rare and only a minor part of their daily food.
Are they loud?
The Grauer’s Gorilla is known to be loud to scare others away, making a loud "Waaaah" sound when required. They also roar or scream when they are angry or want to communicate with another gorilla who is far away.
Would they make a good pet?
Like any gorilla, the Eastern Lowland is a wild animal (despite being very close to human DNA). They are intelligent, hence sign language can be taught and used to get better access to food. They are not aggressive but can be a threat to humans if disturbed. They are usually calm and mind their business, but they are not suitable pets. They can live either in the wild or in official zoos, not as pets.
Did you know...
Humans are the biggest threat to gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The gorilla population here has seen a sharp decline due to mining and civil unrest in the region. Most often, they are victims of hunting and poaching. The National Parks meant to protect them are regularly invaded y humans looking to hunt gorillas. The World Wildlife Fund, an organization supporting conservation efforts, is not effective here due to the civil unrest.
How Eastern Lowland Gorillas take care of their young
Female gorillas give birth to a single baby at once, and these babies stay with the group until they fully grow up and mature. The mother and the group take care of the infant by breastfeeding and providing food. These gorilla babies stay close to the mother gorilla until they reach nine weeks of age and eventually start walking when they are 35 weeks old. The mortality rates are higher among infants, so Silverbacks, the dominant males, are usually responsible for protecting the Eastern Lowland Gorilla's babies in the group as they grow up.
Are Eastern Lowland Gorillas critically endangered?
Eastern Gorillas are considered Critically Endangered as per the Global Conservation Standard. There has been a dramatic decline in the numbers of gorilla population today compared to a couple of decades ago. Arguably, the main cause for this is the armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. War is a major issue because it means that law enforcement is restricted, and barely any resources are available for the gorillas' conservation. Some international organizations focus on working to reduce habitat loss and invest in conservation efforts by surveillance and expansion of these gorilla species' protected areas. The World Wildlife Fund and other organizations like it give the Gorilla beringei graueri hope for the future.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the Mangabey, or New World Monkeys.
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