Gorillas have been divided into two species and four subspecies in the world, the western gorilla with two subspecies of river cross gorillas and western lowland gorillas while the eastern gorilla is subdivided into two species of mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas.
About the Eastern Lowland Gorilla
The eastern lowland gorilla also known as gorilla Beringei Graueri is a subspecies of the eastern gorilla, this subspecies is known to be the largest of all the four gorilla species and can only be found in Kahuzi Beiga national park, Maiko national park, Itombwe massif, Tayna gorilla reserve and Usala forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A group of eastern lowland gorilla family can comprise of up to 30 individuals with a dominating silverback, the silverback can access all the females in the group and as the young males mature they either fight their father for leadership or leave the group with some members to form their own family. The name gorilla Beringei Grauer was given in honour of an Austrian scientist Rudolf Graueri who first identified the eastern lowland gorilla as a subspecies early in the 20th century
The average weight of a male eastern lowland gorilla can be 210 kilograms and females 100 kilograms, while males can be as tall as 1.85 meters the females are a bit shorter with a height of 1.6 meters tall. They also have the highest altitude range compared to other gorillas.
According to a report in 2004, there were only about 5000 eastern lowland gorillas left in the wild. Eastern lowland gorillas have shorter hair on the back and body and just like other gorillas the males develop greyish hair on the backs designating them as silverbacks.
The eastern lowland gorillas are entirely herbivores consuming fruits, leaves, shoot, stem, bark and occasionally eat ants, termites and insects. Female eastern lowland gorillas undergo gestation period for about 8-9 months and the babies are breastfed for about three years clinging on their mothers before they mature.
The eastern lowland gorilla can be distinguished from other gorillas by its short muzzle, stocky body, opposable thumbs and large hands. Eastern lowland gorillas can survive in captivity that’s why you can find them in zoos.
Trekking Eastern Lowland Gorillas
Eastern lowland gorillas can be trekked at Maiko and Kahuzi Beiga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the cost of a gorilla permit is $450 only. Tourists planning to go for gorilla trekking should go in the dry season to avoid inconveniences caused by rain resulting in muddy trails making trekking difficult.