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Mountain Gorrilas An Endangered Species

Threats and Facts

The Mountain Gorilla
Threats and Facts
What is Being Done

The mountain gorilla's true threat is man!!!

Threats/Reasons of Decline:

          Habitat destruction poses a serious threat to the future of this species.  Mountain forests are being cleared for agricultural uses such as cropping and grazing.  Another way humans are contributing to the Mountain Gorilla's decline is poaching.  Money is offered for a gorilla's meat, specially its hands and head.  Others poach gorillas to eat, like combatants in various wars in Africa.  Low reproductivity is also a key for there diminishing numbers.


Mountain Gorilla's Size:

          Male mountain gorillas reach an average of 6 feet tall (when standing upright) and weigh 400 to 500 pounds, making them the largest of the great apes (chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas).  Females are smaller, standing an average of 4 to 5 feet tall and weighing 150 to 200 pounds.  Males develop a streak of silver hair on their backs when they mature and are called "silverbacks."  The mountain gorilla has a robust build with a large head, long, muscular arms and short legs, a massive chest, and broad hands and feet with thick digits.  It is the hairiest race of gorillas; its long, thick black hair keeps it warm from the cold of living at high elevations.


Mountain Gorilla's Reproduction:

          In a 40-50 year lifetime, a female might have only 2-6 living offspring. Females give birth for the first time at about age 10 and will have offspring every four years or more. A male reaches sexual maturity between 10 and 12 years.  They have more than one mate at a time meaning they have about 10 to 20 offspring.
          Newborn gorillas  are born after eight and a half months.  They are weak and tiny, weighing about 4 pounds.  They are cared for by their mother and protected by their father.  Sadly poachers have also killed entire family groups in their attempts to capture infant gorillas for zoos, while others are killed to sell their heads and hands as trophies.

Mountain Gorilla's Behavior:

          The family group consists of a male with a group of females.  Females find a lone male and begin forming a group.  Females leave their families at eight years old and males leave at 11 years of age.  Most of the time they groom each other, eat , resting and traveling.  They also enjoy playing with each other.