Different Types of gorillas: How many types of gorillas are there?

Different Types of gorillas – Gorillas are one of the critically endangered species of primates in the world. They are found in the tropical rainforests in Africa and mainly dwell on the ground. Gorillas live in groups of 2-30 members and each group is headed by the strongest male. Gorilla groups consist more of the females and their young ones and sometimes a few other males.

There are two types of gorillas (species) and each of them is further categorized into two, coming up with 4 different types of gorillas (subspecies of gorillas). They were identified based on different factors including their geographical and morphology location. We have the eastern gorillas also known as the Gorilla berengei and these inhabit the rainforests in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC and the western gorillas also known as Gorilla gorilla which inhabit the western tropical rain forests.

Western gorillas

The western gorillas are the most abundant types of gorillas and they are distinguished from the eastern gorillas by their lighter color and shape of the nose which more protruding. As the eastern gorillas are dark in color, the western gorillas can be brownish or grayish. Male western gorillas reach an average height of about 155cm while females can reach about 135cm.

Western lowland gorillas

This subspecies of the western gorillas is also known as gorilla gorilla gorilla. They are founds in the lowland swamps and montane forests in the central parts of Africa. They are characterized by their jet black skin with coarse hairs all over their bodies. This subspecies is one of the strongest and largest land animals. They live in the tropical rain forests of Central African Republic, Gabon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and some parts of the DRC.

Cross river Gorilla

Also known as Gorilla gorilla diehli, this subspecies of the western gorillas is found near the cross river’s headwaters between the highlands and mountains at the boarder of Nigeria and Cameroon. They are one of the most critically endangered gorilla species where there was a population of about 250 gorillas in 2014. Physical characteristics that differentiate them from other species are mainly the size difference, they are smaller. They have smaller ears, plates, cranial vault and skulls. Their hands, limbs and feet are also smaller than those of other gorilla species.

Eastern gorillas

The eastern gorillas (Gorilla Beringei) live in the eastern parts of Africa specifically Uganda, Rwanda and the eastern areas of Congo. They are further categorized into mountain gorillas and the eastern lowland gorillas. Eastern gorillas are wide in size and a notable difference from the western gorillas is seen in the black colored fur.

Mountain gorillas

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are also critically endangered subspecies of the eastern gorillas. the hard work of their conservation was initiated by Dian Fossey in the 1980s in the tropical rain forests of the Virunga masiff where she studied and encouraged protection of these endangered primates but was brutally killed by poachers due to her work. From then, conservation of the mountain gorillas continued and has contributed a lot towards the increasing number in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the DRC.

Mountain gorillas are interesting cousins to human beings. They live in groups in the above mentioned parks and have been habituated for trekking; one of the most thrilling experiences you can have in Africa. A mature male gorilla weighs 140 kilograms to 200kilograms and a mature female mountain gorilla weighs 60 kilograms to 120 kilograms.

Eastern lowland gorillas

Eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla Beringei graueri) live in the tropical rainforests of Democratic Republic of Congo in Kahuzi-Biega and Maiko national parks and other areas that are close. They are quite many in number as compared to the mountain gorillas though they are also considered to be critically endangered due to poaching and destruction of their habitat by humans.