Male gorilla sitting amongst Congo sedge nutgrass

Western gorilla

Western gorillas are easily distinguishable from their eastern cousins, since they are smaller and lighter-bodied. This allows them to be agile climbers and therefore excellent at gathering fruit. There are two subspecies of western gorilla: the widespread lowland gorilla and the rarer cross river gorilla. Both subspecies are sociable and live in groups. Sadly, gorilla numbers have plummeted in recent years, mainly through habitat loss, although between 1992 and 2007 the deadly ebola virus killed one third of the entire population.

Did you know?
Adult males are known as 'silverbacks' due to the silvery-white hair extending down their backs.

Scientific name: Gorilla gorilla

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Western gorilla taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Western gorilla can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Western gorilla distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Rainforest Rainforest
Rainforests are the world's powerhouses, the most vital habitats on the planet. Characterised by high rainfall, they only cover 6% of the Earth across the tropical regions, but they contain more than half of its plant and animal species.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Western gorilla

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