BECOMING A PRIMATE PRO... SORT OF

10 OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN PRIMATE SPECIES

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#10 WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA

Gorilla gorilla gorilla

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Western lowland gorillas inhabit the dense and remote tropical rainforests of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the isolated lowland swampy forests of the Republic of Congo on the African continent.

  • Western lowland gorillas are gentle giants
  • Although they can weigh up to 440 pounds (200 kg), they are primarily vegetarian
  • They live in small, stable family groups
  • Western lowland gorillas share 98.3% of their DNA with us humans
  • They have experienced a 60% population decline over the past 25 years
CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
This means that there is an extremely high risk of them becoming extinct in the wild.

Western lowland gorillas are primarily threatened by habitat loss due to logging, clear-cutting the forests for agricultural use, mining (for coltan, a mineral used in cell phones), and for the development of human settlements. These factors lead to two other significant threats too: poaching and disease. 

Poaching and disease have led to a 60-percent decline in western lowland gorilla populations over the last 25 years.

NO
  1. Heavens no!!! Gorillas are very very large. They can weigh up to 440 lbs (220 kgs). Their needs cannot possibly be met in human living conditions.
  2. To become pets, gorilla babies are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  3. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  4. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches.
  5. In their natural habitat, western lowland gorillas live in stable family groups with a strict heirarchy. It is cruel to isolate them as pets.
  6. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  7. Trade in gorillas is illegal worldwide.
  8. Western lowland gorillas belong with other gorillas in Africa. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited. 
#PrimatesAreNotPets

Visit the WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
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