Africa is home to the gorilla, a Great Ape found nowhere else on Earth. There are five sub-species of these primates living in the forests of central Africa – in Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, the two Congo republics, Rwanda and Uganda.
The highly endangered Mountain gorilla is restricted to just two highland areas on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Deforestation, poaching, human disease and war once took them to the brink of extinction, but a census in 2004 identified an increase in numbers in recent years. Still only a few hundred Mountain gorillas remain in the wild, and since there are none in captivity, the future of the entire species depends on their survival.
Though still classified as endangered, the Lowland gorilla (photos right) is far more numerous than its mountain cousin, with a combined wild population of around 120,000, on the eastern and western rims of the Congo Basin. Though,they too face extinction.
None of the three great apes is considered ancestral to modern man, Homo sapiens, but they remain the only other type of extant primate with which human beings share such close physical characteristics [see photos, right]. From them we may learn much concerning the behavior of our earliest primate prototypes, because behavior, unlike bones, teeth, or tools, does not fossilize.” – Dian Fossey
- Mountain Gorilla
- Grauer’s Gorilla
- Western Lowland Gorillas
- Cross River Gorillas