Gorillas

GORILLAS IN THE NATIONAL PARK

GORILLAS IN THE NATIONAL PARK

In the national park the gorillas also live in groups of around 10-20 animals, including 6-8 adult females with their young or babies. The silverback pulls the group together and protects his family. The young are extremely keen to play with the babies of the group. They constantly try to lure them away from their mothers to go on discovery tour, high up in the canopy.

There are three species of gorillas: Mountain Gorillas, Eastern and Western Lowland Gorillas. Around 120 Gorillas are “on record” in Odzala. They were identified and named by the primatologists Dr. Magda Bermejo and German Illera who were setting up and are managing the gorilla project in Odzala.

THE LAST OF THEIR KIND?

The IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has classified the Western Lowland Gorilla as a critically endangered species. Our relatives are in great danger. The worst case scenario is as follows: Within the next three generations up to 80% of the entire population will disappear. Hence it is all the more important for Odzala to remain a safe place for the animals living there.

THE GREATEST DANGERS


Western Lowland Gorillas have suffered exceptionally high levels of mortality, caused by hunting and Ebola epidemics. In some remote areas more than 90% of the population died from Ebola. In the Republic of Congo’s protected areas about 50% of gorillas feel victim to this disease. Unfortunately the dangers do not stop at national park borders. Most protected areas have serious poaching problems. Hunting and Ebola are both ongoing threats that are not yet mitigated. Every loss is dramatic, as gorillas are long-lived animals and their reproductive rates are very low.

YOUR BEGINNERS COURSE IN GORILLA TRACKING

Already nearly 500 Western Lowland Gorillas are known to live in Odzala. The worldwide population is estimated to lie at around 90.000. More    

MEET: THE GRANDPA AMONGST ODZALA'S TRACKERS

Zepherin Okoko – he is basically the Grandpa amongst the trackers in Odzala. More    

WHAT MAGDA LOVES ABOUT ODZALA

The Spanish scientist Magdalena Bermejo has been living in the Odzala rainforest for 20 years now – and absolutely loves it. More    

WHAT ARE GREEK GODS DOING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RAINFOREST?

Primate scientists Magda Bermejo and German Illera have studied and named three gorilla groups. More    

Faces of Odzala

Gorillas in the national park
Education
Education
Animal, species and environmental protection
Animal, species and environmental protection

DOES GORILLA MEAN GORILLA?

Does gorilla mean gorilla? Three species of Gorillas: Mountain Gorillas (eastern gorillas), as well as Eastern and Western Lowland Gorillas. In the entire central African region the current estimates of the total Western Lowland population are 150.000 to 200.000. Most of these live in the Congo. Around 120 of these are on record. They were identified and named by the primate-scientists who set up and manage the Gorilla-Project in Odzala: primate researchers Dr. Magda Bermejo an German Illera.

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE

Only one is the boss. He’s got between six and eight wives – making some men’s hearts skip a beat. But the silverback also carries the huge responsibility of taking care of up to 20 family members. They rely on him, and need his protection. The dominating group leaders are the oldest males with the oldest rights. The silverback is the boss, but no despot. They allow the presence of other, younger males, the blackbacks. These young gorillas strengthen the group in case of an attack.

OUT OF THE WAY, LITTLE ONE!

However, the peace in the family only lasts until the fur on the back of the blackback turns grey. At this point, the blackback has to set off to find his own herd. This is a point in which we differ from our closest relatives, the gorillas. To them, not the young ones mean competition, but the oldies do!

GROUP DYNAMICS

In the national park the gorillas also live in groups of around 10-20 animals, of which 6-8 are grown females who each have their young or babies. The silverback holds the group together and protects his family. The young are extremely interested in the babies of the group. They constantly try to lure them away from their mothers to go on discovery tour, high up in the crown of the trees.

HEAVY WEIGHTS

The gorilla males in Odzala reach a grand weight of 140 to 210 Kilos with a maximum height of 1,70 meters. Comparatively the females reach a delicate 70 kilos and a height of approximately 1,50 Meters.

EVERYDAY LIFE

In numbers a gorilla-day looks more or less like this: They sleep around 30 percent of the time, eat for around 40 percent of it, and are searching around for the remaining 30: searching for food, a resting place in the day, and a place to sleep at night. Almost sounds like holidays! Now who wouldn’t love to be a gorilla?

THE LAST OF THEIR KIND?

The IUCN, the world wide nature conservation union, has classified the Western Lowland Gorilla as an endangered species. Our closest relatives are in great danger. The worst case scenario is as follows: Within the next three generations 80% of the entire population will disappear. Hence it is all the more important for Odzala to remain a safe place for the animals at home there.

THE GREATEST DANGERS

Western Lowland Gorillas have suffered exceptionally high levels of mortality, caused by hunting and diseases like Ebola. In some remote areas more than 90% of the population has died. The considerable decline of the Western Lowland Gorillas is a sad statistic: More than 60% has been predicted for the next 20 years. Most protected areas have serious poaching problems and almost half of the habitat under protected status has been hit hard by Ebola. Commercial hunting and Ebola are both continuing - even accelerating - threats that are not yet mitigated. Gorillas are long-lived and their reproductive rates are extremely low which makes particularly susceptible to even low levels of hunting.