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Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Fact Sheet: Summary

Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Fact Sheet

mom and baby

Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Hominidae

Subfamily: Homininae

Genus: Gorilla

Species: G. gorilla

Subspecies: G. g. gorilla

Body Weight
Males 136-181 kg (300-400 lb)
Females 72-98 kg (159-216 lb)

Height: 1400-1750 mm (4.6-5.74 ft)

Pelage: Black short fur, top of head is brown, face hairless.
Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology
Range: West & Central Africa

Habitat: Tropical & montane rain forests, including forest swamps.

IUCN Status
Critically Endangered (2016 assessment) (Maisels F, et al. 2018)

CITES Status
Appendix I (UNEP 2018)

Population in Wild: 150,000 to 255,000; rapid declines since early 2000s

Locomotion: Quadrupedal knuckle walking / cautious climbers

Activity Cycle: Diurnal

Social Groups: 4-6 adults. Male silverback dominates.

Diet: Leaves, stems, pith, fruit, seeds, insects

Predators: Man, leopard
Reproduction & Development Species Highlights
Sexual Maturity:
Male: 12-15 years
Female: 8.5-10 years

Gestation: 8.5 months

Birth weight: ~4.4 lbs

Age at Weaning: 3+ years

Longevity: 30-40 years in wild, 50 in managed care

Feature Facts:

  • Age to maturity on par with human development.
  • Females only give birth every 3-5 years. Build nests at night.
  • Playful, especially young gorillas.
  • Humans, chimpanzees and gorillas share a common ancestor not shared by orangutans
  • Critically Endangered.
  • Emerging risk of oil palm agriculture. 
  • San Diego Zoo Global: Stories about western lowland gorillas at the San Diego Zoo

About This Fact Sheet

© 2006-2018 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated 2018. Conservation update 2016. Amended IUCN update 2018.

How to cite: Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Fact Sheet. c2006-2016. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. westernlowlandgorilla
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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