Just 700 Mountain Gorillas Are Left

Mountain gorillas are disappearing; scientists estimate that roughly 700 mountain gorillas are left, putting them in the “critically endangered” category. The remaining mountain gorillas are scattered around the volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas are threatened by habitat destruction and poaching.

Gorillas organize themselves into troops of about 30 gorillas each. Every troop has a lead gorilla, or silverback, who can be challenged by another gorilla. The silverback unleashes a menacing roar, and bangs on its chest to demonstrate dominance when challenged. Aside from their aggressive challenges, these gorillas are generally gentle and calm.

Female gorillas are half the size of male gorillas, weighing about 220 pounds. Female gorillas can give birth to one baby after nine months of pregnancy. Newborn gorillas can weigh up to four pounds when they are born, which is pretty small compared to how large their parents are. Baby gorillas play all day; they cling on their mom’s back most of the time and also swing on tree branches.

As you can see, mountain gorillas are smart, gentle animals. Mountain gorillas in captivity have shown remarkable intelligence. Some have even learned sign language.

[Sources: Wikipedia; World Wildlife Foundation; National Geographic]