A picture of a male gorilla.

Western Lowland Gorilla

After the two species of chimpanzees, gorillas are our closest relatives. Gorillas are divided into two species, eastern and western gorillas and these species are further divided into several subspecies. The gorillas featured in these pictures are Western Lowland Gorillas and they live in the Toronto Zoo.

Gorillas are the largest extant primates. They are much larger than a human and a whole lot stronger.

All these pictures were taken at a small distance where the gorillas can be viewed through glass in their room (there is a much bigger area for the gorilla exhibit, but the gorillas seem to be there only when on duty).

While the glass is necessary both to protect humans who would no doubt annoy the gorillas to the point that something nasty would happen, as well as for the protection of the gorillas since close proximity to humans would expose them to all sorts of human diseases that they can catch being our close relatives.

Unfortunately the glass seems to have at least two reflective surfaces as well as some opacity making it nearly impossible to get a nice sharp picture through it.

A picture of a male gorilla.

Adult male (silverback) western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the Toronto Zoo.

The adult male gorilla (known as a silverback for its unmistakable coloration) is a formidable animal with a typical weight around 200kg even if he is mostly lean muscle (fat gorillas can be much heavier).

Staring at a full grown male gorilla does not make a sane person want to challenge him to a wrestling match.

A picture of a silverback gorilla down on all fours.

The same silverback gorilla down on all fours.
Appreciate the musculature and strength of this magnificent creature.

The female gorilla is smaller than the male, nevertheless I would not advise anyone to try to wrestle one either, she is still quite a bit stronger than an average human.

A portrait of a gorilla.

Female western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the Toronto Zoo.

In the wild silverback male gorillas sort of own their females. All the children are descended from the same silverback (if an adult male manages to kill another one and take over the harem of females he will kill the babies).

Unlike most humans and chimpanzees, gorillas are vegetarian and eat mostly leaves, fruits and other plant parts.

The western lowland gorilla is criticaly endangered in the wild because of poaching, habitat destruction and disease.

Further Readings:
Western lowland gorilla on the Toronto Zoo website.
Gorilla Health Threat: Infectious Disease
Humans Make Gorillas Sick.
Western Lowland Gorilla on the Wildlife Conservation Society website.
Gorilla on Wikipedia.
Western lowland gorilla on Wikipedia.

Last updated: July 3, 2014

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