January Primate of the Month — Mountain Gorilla
January Primate of the Month – the Mountain Gorilla
Mountain Gorilla Quick Facts:
- Scientific Name: Gorilla beringei beringei
- IUCN Status: Endangered
- Population: 1,063
- Range: Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwana, Uganda
- Habitat: Tropical Rainfores, between 7,000-13,000 feet in elevation
- Diet: Leaves, stems, shoots and fruits
- Wild Lifespan: 30-40 years
As popularized by the late Dian Fossey, the Mountain Gorilla is an exquisite member of the gorilla family, found in two populations groups within montane Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain Gorillas are social creatures that live in groups of 5-30 individuals, led by an alpha silverback male. These incredible individuals can weigh as much as 440 pounds and reach 5 feet tall when standing on two feet.
Females will start producing offspring around 10 years old and generally only give birth every 4-5 years. Infant gorillas are highly dependent on their mom for the first few years but will venture out to bond with silverbacks and other troops members as they grow.
Great News! — recently, surveys indicate that the population has increased from 1,004 in 2018 to at least 1,063. This means that Mountain Gorillas are the only great ape with a growing population. As with many other primates, the Mountain Gorilla faces many human related threats, including: habitat destruction for timber and firewood, disease transmission, climate change, and illegal poaching.