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 Saving Wildlife Together - Saving the Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

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The largest and most powerful of all primates, the gorilla is a peaceable and sociable animal. The mountain gorilla is found only in the highlands on the border of Zaire, Rwanda, and Uganda in central Africa. Strictly herbivorous eating fruit, leaves, juicy stems and bamboo shoots, the gorilla rarely drinks, sucking water from the back of its hand. Gorillas live in troops of up to 30 individuals with mostly females and a few mature males called silverbacks. Young adult males usually live alone but will often join other groups for short periods, taking some of the females and leaving to start their own troop. The leader of a troop will organize activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about their one to sixteen square mile home range. In the evening gorillas build nests in trees where they spend the night. The young share their mothersí nests up to age 3 when they will begin experiment with nest building. The females produce a single offspring about every fourth year. The young will spend most of their day playing by climbing trees, chasing one another, and swinging from branches. In captivity gorillas display significant intelligence and have learned simple sign language. Social grooming bonds gorillas who comb through each otherís fur with their fingers and teeth. This also allows for close contact and touch between animals. Both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas are endandered with only about 650 mountain gorillas found in the forests. Although their numbers may be slowly increasing, they still face major threats from poachers and also through habitat loss by farmers and ranchers.

Mountain Gorilla - Fast Facts

Type: Mammal
Diet: Herbivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 10-15 years
Size: 4 to 5 ft (1.2 to 1.5 m)
Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)

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