Conservation Status : Critically Endangered
Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-
dwelling omnivores that inhabit the forests of Africa.
Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under
debate as of 2007) either four or five subspecies. Its DNA
is 97%–98% identical to that of a human, and are the
next closest living relatives to humans after the two
chimpanzee species.
Some Information & Graphics obtained from Wikipedia
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Activities & Printables
Watch Videos:
  • a family of Mountain Gorillas (including one huge Silverback) in Parc National de
    Volcans, Rwanda, Africa in July 2006.
  • Sky News Correspondent David Bowden gets up close and personal with mountain
    gorillas in the Rwandan jungle.

Interactive Crossword

Printable Crossword    Answer Key

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Africa Unit Study, Activities  & Lesson Plans
Simply put :o)

A Gorilla is an ape, the biggest member of the primate order. It lives in Africa. The Gorillas' habitats
(living places) are being wiped out by forest cutting for wood. Gorillas will not usually attack but if
provoked become very aggressive. One Case of Gorilla Attack is when a 8 foot tall gorilla killed three

There are several (sub-)species of gorilla:

Western Lowland Gorilla
The Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) is the most populous species of the genus Gorilla. Nearly all of
the individuals of this taxon belong to the Western Lowland Gorilla subspecies (G. g. gorilla) whose
population is approximately 94,000 individuals. There are fewer than 300 of the only other Western
Gorilla subspecies, the
Cross River Gorilla. Wild western gorillas are known to use tools.

World Conservation Union lists the Western Gorilla as critically endangered, the most severe
denomination next to global extinction, on its 2007 Red List of Threatened Species. The Ebola virus
is depleting Western Gorilla populations to a point where it might become impossible for them to

Cross River Gorilla
Mountain Gorilla
Eastern Lowland Gorilla

Gorillas are the biggest primates. They can become very heavy, and are very strong. They have black
skin and fur. Male gorillas' fur becomes silver/grey on their backs as they become older. Because of
that older males are called silverbacks.

Life & Location
Gorillas live in the rainforests in Central Africa.  See our pages on Cameroon Rain Forest and the
accompanying activity book.  They mostly live on the ground, but they can also climb. When on the
ground, they walk on their feet and finger knuckles. They are mostly herbivores, and eat leaves and

After a pregnancy of 8½ - 9 months the female gives birth to usually one baby. It stays with its mother
for 3-4 years. Gorillas can live for up to 50 years.

A silverback is an adult male gorilla, typically more than 12 years of age and named for the
distinctive patch of silver hair on his back. A silverback gorilla has large canines that come with
maturity. Black backs are sexually mature males of up to 11 years of age.

Silverbacks are the strong, dominant troop leaders. Each typically leads a troop of 5 to 30 gorillas
and is the centre of the troop's attention, making all the decisions, mediating conflicts, determining
the movements of the group, leading the others to feeding sites and taking responsibility for the
safety and well-being of the troop.

Males will slowly begin to leave their original troop when they are about 11 years old, travelling alone
or with a group of other males for 2–5 years before being able to attract females to form a new group
and start breeding. While infant gorillas normally stay with their mother for 3–4 years, silverbacks will
care for weaned young orphans, though never to the extent of carrying the little gorillas.

If challenged by a younger or even by an outsider male, a silverback will scream, beat his chest,
break branches, bare his teeth, then charge forward. Sometimes a younger male in the group can
take over leadership from an old male. If the leader is killed by disease, accident, fighting or
poachers, the group will split up, as the animals disperse to look for a new protective male. Very
occasionally, a group might be taken over in its entirety by another male. There is a strong risk that
the new male may kill the infants of the dead silverback.

Founded by Dian Fossey in 1978 to save the Gorillas.
Dedicated to the conservation of gorillas and their habitats in Africa through anti-poaching, regular
monitoring, research, education and support of local communities,
DFGFI uniquely continues to
promote the ideals and vision of
Dr. Dian Fossey.
hayhaenen   :   Near the border of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda live the
last remaining 600 mountain gorillas of this world.
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Conservation Work
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Conservation and
Volunteer Projects
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