The last Wild Fact of the week is going to be about an amazing animal that many of you have probably seen wandering around the zoo. Yes, the Western Lowland Gorilla, which is a sub-species of the Western Gorilla, is the preferred species for zoos. Why? To be honest, I am not sure why there are 550 of them living in zoos throughout the world. Perhaps it has to do with their rainforest home being destroyed, so the zoos are the one place these animals are allowed to survive. Instead of visiting the zoo though, lets take a trip to their natural home located throughout several parts of western Africa including Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and surrounding areas.
Calm and Unaggressive
When you think of the term Gorilla, you probably think of an aggressive silverback (male) displaying their dominance by showing off how powerful they are. And these animals are quite strong according to John Aspinall (British Zoo owner), who claimed the Western Lowland Gorilla has the strength of 7 or 8 Olympic weight lifters. Sure this claim has not been verified but I think we can all agree that this particular ape is incredibly strong. While this aggressive display of power is an important aspect of the Gorilla behaviour, this particular sub-species is know to be quite calm and un-aggressive….unless they are disturbed. Basically, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. For the record, unless you have the strength of 9 or 10 Olympic weight lifters, I suggest you go out of your way not to disturb one of these creatures.
Breakfast of Champions
Like other Gorilla species, the Western Lowland variety has a dominant male that leads the troop in all of their activities such as sleeping, traveling and of course eating. Finding food shouldn’t be too hard for these animals as they tend to feed on vegetation such as Bamboo and have been known to occasionally feast on insects or small reptiles. It is funny how some of the most powerful animals in the world spend their time eating vegetation or incredibly small animals. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad these majestic creatures don’t have a taste for human meat but I am still amused by the picture in my mind of a large, powerful Gorilla eating a teeny-tiny insect. Unfortunately, if we don’t stop destroying their rainforest home, the Western Lowland Gorilla’s food selection will be determined by their caretakers in the zoo.