The Gorillas

The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is a subspecies of Eastern Gorilla that is now only found in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Many live within the boundaries of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

Until the mid-1990s, the population was thought to number around 17,000 individuals. There are currently no reliable population estimates due to lack of census data in remote regions, as well as the unknown impact of decades of civil conflict in eastern DRC. Its stronghold is Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is subject to poaching and habitat destruction. Numbers have declined by 80-90% in the last 5 years, largely due to increased poaching in the park ( 

The trade in bushmeat, which occurs over much of the eastern lowland gorilla's range, may now be more of a threat than habitat loss and degradation, but the number of gorillas killed annually is unknown. The influx of people into Kahuzi-Biega National Park has also resulted in an increase in bushmeat hunting. Gorillas are also sought after as food and pets, and their body parts are used in medicine and as magical charms (

The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is the largest subspecies of the Gorilla and the largest living primate. The maximum size of a male gorilla can be over 250 kilograms (550 lb) and when standing fully erect 2 metres (6.6 ft).

Eastern Lowland Gorillas tend to be sociable and very peaceful, living in groups of 5 to 30. A group usually consists of one silverback and few subdominant males. Silverbacks are the strong, dominant troop leaders. They are in charge of leading the group to food and protecting the group from danger. Males will slowly begin to leave their original group when they reach maturity, usually traveling with a group of other males for a few years before being able to attract females to form a new group.

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