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WHAT IS THE GORILLA?


There are three subspecies of gorillas living in Africa. There are the Western Lowland, the Eastern Loland and the Mountain Gorillas. Their first sighting was in the 5th century BC by a Roman Explorer to Africa. The head male in the gorilla family is the silverback or the undisputed leader. There is often an 8 to 13 year old immature male that will one day take over the group from his father.



As well there are 4 or more females which all mate with the silverback leader. Males that are uncapable of gaining the leadership of their group are cast out and often form large groups of bachelors. Gorilla life can be creul for these single males. Mountain gorillas tend to live at altitudes of 4100 meteres or fourteen thousand feet and their lungs are extremely strong to allow them to thrive at this height.














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The diet of the typical mountain gorilla includes, leaves, course stems, roots, vines, bamboo, wild cherry, nettles and thistles and when there is no other food to eat they will resort to eating insects such as snails or slugs. The Western lowland gorillas eat more fruit, stems, flowers, shoots, bulbs, bark, leaves and over 200 other plant species. They are less adapted to survive on different forms of food. In the wild they are know to survive up to 35 years and in captivity it tends to be closer to 50 years of age. Today there are fewer then 650 mountain gorillas and 40,000 lowland gorillas in the world. Gorillas live mainly on the ground but the trees in their habitat are capable of supporting the weight of entire groups in them. Chimpanzee nests are similar to the gorilla ones but they are higher in the trees.

 

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