All about Oriental gorilla

All about Oriental gorilla

The eastern gorilla is one of the two existing species of these primates, which has peculiar and striking characteristics, many of them certainly associated with its close genetic relationship with humans. These animals have a complex communication system, which develops through different types of sounds, tactilely, with movements and even chemically. Like other gorilla species, the eastern gorilla is unfortunately subject to many anthropogenic pressures, which ultimately placed it in an important risk category.


Continue reading this guide and discover relevant information about the characteristics, habitat and food of the eastern gorilla.


  • Africa
  • Congo (Kinshasa)
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda

Oriental Gorilla Characteristics

Gorillas in general they are the largest primates. Males of this particular species weigh on average about 160 kg, with average lengths of 185 cm, while in the case of females, 70 to 114 kg and 150 cm, indicating sexual dimorphism.

The coat of these animals is long and silky, with colours that can be bluish-black or brownish-grey. Males at approximately 12 years of age become what is known as a silverback, due to the presence of a greyish colouration in this area, which is related in some cases to the position of leader of the group. Another male peculiarity is the presence of axillary glands, which emit a strong odour when stressed.

The jaws and teeth of this species are larger than in the case of the western one, but with a smaller nose and arms.

Eastern Gorilla Subspecies

The eastern gorilla belongs to the Gorilla beringei species and has two subspecies:



  • Gorilla de Grauer ( Gorilla beringei graueri )
  • Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla beringei beringei )

eastern gorilla habitat

The species’ habitat is represented by dense forests, which can include secondary forests transitioning to African mountain areas, where bamboo forests, swamps and peatlands are found. The site’s altitudes are between 600 and 2,900 meters above sea level. Specifically, the mountain species is found in areas between 1400 and 1850 meters above sea level, while the Grauer Gorilla is found at lower elevations.

The mountain gorilla thrives in various types of vegetation in these mountainous regions, where there are bamboo forests, mixed forests and grasslands. The Grauer species, in turn, lives on very steep slopes of mixed forests, with the presence of thick undergrowth.

eastern gorilla customs

The eastern gorilla is established in groups, so it is a social species. A silver-backed male, with better physical condition, will be the leader of the group, which is formed by the females and their descendants. On average, training is 10 individuals, but some with up to 65 members have been identified.

Females with approximately eight years, separate from the group of origin, seek their family with another solitary male. Although sometimes they can join an already established one, they prefer their own. Males, in turn, separate around the age of 11, but cannot join groups that have already been formed.


These animals are not used to being territorial. In fact, the groups overlap, but eventually, important clashes occur, especially when there are encounters with a single man.

The species has diurnal habits When they wake up, they start a long feeding time, which then alternates with rest and movement movements. To sleep at night, they usually make nests, mostly on the ground or occasionally in trees.

Another aspect that they include in their habits is that of being proud of males and females or between one female and another.

oriental gorilla diet

The eastern gorilla is primarily a leaf-eating species but complements its diet with other options. In this way, it consumes leaves, roots, stems, vegetable marrows, shrubs and bamboos. They also include bark, fungi, flowers, fruits, some invertebrates such as insects, and even manure from themselves.

These animals spend approximately 30% of the day feeding.

Eastern Gorilla Breeding

A male gorilla is ready to breed at 8 years of age, while females have their first period and between 6 to 7 years, and on average their first delivery will be around 10 years. The reproductive cycle is every 28 days, being receptive between 1 to 4 days approximately.





The dominant male can reproduce exclusively with all females in the group formed. The species has a low reproductive rate, as a woman will leave a maximum of up to 6 offspring in her lifetime.

When a woman is ovulating, she initiates a relationship with the man, making certain movements to indicate that she is ready. After the act, she will have a pregnancy of about eight and a half months, from which a single baby will be born. This will be weaned around the age of three when it will no longer be on the mother’s back either. This calf will remain in the group for several years.

Eastern Gorilla Conservation Status

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has declared the eastern gorilla in critical danger of extinction. There are several causes that gave rise to its current state. On the one hand, hunting is the main damage suffered by the species, particularly Grauer’s gorillas, for meat consumption purposes. High population growth, armed groups and miners in the region are putting increasing pressure and increasing consumption by gorillas. For this, they kill the mothers and eat them, the babies usually die without care or are also eaten.

On the other hand, habitat alteration for agricultural purposes and for resource extraction generates a strong impact on these forests, which undoubtedly directly affects the development of animals.


Mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, natural areas have been invaded by armed groups, which carry out a certain illegal trade in resources, which includes the killing of gorillas, an act that is facilitated by their weapons.

Another aspect that has affected these populations is the contagion of certain diseases transmitted by humans, such as respiratory viruses and the herpes virus, which in some cases have already proven fatal for some individuals, as a result of contact between gorillas and visitors to the region.

Finally, climate change is expected to modify the precipitation patterns of these ecosystems, which, without a doubt, will bring important changes in the availability of food and spaces for these gorillas to inhabit.


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