The eastern gorilla also known as gorilla Beringei is divided into two subspecies of eastern lowland gorilla also known as Grauer’s gorilla and mountain gorilla known as gorilla Beringei Beringei. Eastern gorillas are said to be having large group sizes compared to western lowland gorillas.
Eastern gorillas are also rare compared to western gorillas and their the largest primates in the world, this species of gorillas can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Eastern lowland gorilla subspecies differ in their numbers with eastern low land gorilla population of about 3,800 individuals and only about 1000 mountain gorilla.
Though these gorillas are slightly different in appearance, they also live in different habitats with mountain gorillas inhabiting the mountain and subalpine forests and eastern lowland gorillas living in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo at the Albertine Rift forests.
Subspecies of Eastern gorilla
Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla Beringei Beringei)
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered compared to eastern lowland gorillas, they inhabit the Virunga Massif Mountains in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in southwestern Uganda. The name Beringei came from a surname of a man who shot two unknown animals by that time in 1902 his name was captain Robert Von Beringei Friedrich though the animals were later recognised as mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are slightly lighter and smaller than eastern lowland gorillas with their fur thick and longer than that of eastern lowland gorillas protecting them against low temperatures within their habitat. Male mountain gorillas develop grey fur on their backs as the age hence their given name silverbacks.
The silverbacks dominate the group taking care of daily activities and protecting the group from predators, other gorilla groups and lone silverbacks. Silverbacks and female mountain gorillas will fight for their groups and a mother for her baby even to death point. Mountain gorillas are herbivores animals feeding entirely on vegetation like bamboo shoot, bark, leaves, fruits, nuts, stems and so much more though they also tend to complement their diet with rodents, termites, ants, insects and so much more.
Female mountain gorillas mature sexually before the male mountain gorillas though their birth rate is low with only 1-2 fertile days in a month with a gestation period of 8 and half month, mountain gorillas can breastfeed their children up to 3 and half years.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Grauer’s gorilla)
The eastern lowland gorilla is endemic to Maiko national park, Kahuzi Beiga national park, Itombwe massif, Usala forest and Tayna gorilla reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unlike the mountain gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla is a larger and the biggest of all gorilla species.
There are more eastern gorillas living in the wild compared to mountain gorillas with an estimated population of 3,800 individuals, female eastern lowland gorillas can weigh 100 kilograms while males can weight up 210 kilograms or even about 250 kilograms in a zoo.
Eastern lowland gorillas just like other gorillas eat leaves, fruits, shoot, stems, back and sometimes ants, insects and termites. The eastern lowland gorillas have the widest altitude range because they can be found in both mountainous and lowland tropical forests.
Eastern lowland gorillas live in groups of up to 30 individuals making them the most social and friendly of the gorilla species, the groups are dominated by the leading silverbacks in the group and young males can either fight for power or grab some members when they mature or they separate and look for ways of forming their own group.