Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
This species live in primary, secondary and montane forests, as well as lowland swamps in Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equitorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo.
They are the most common of all gorillas.
The most recent surveys (2006 and 2007) put wild numbers at 150,000 - 200,000, although the species is still endangered. their main threats are disease [Ebola], poaching and loss of habitat.
Photograph above - Jumbo, male silverback from Apenheul, Netherlands, by Julie Hoddinott.
Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
This species live in tropical and subtropical, moist, broadleaf forests on the border of Cameroon and Nigeria. It is a sub species of the Western Gorilla. They differ from the Western Lowland gorilla in both skull and tooth dimensions.
According to the ICUN, the Cross River gorilla is the most endangered of all the African apes, and is listed as one of the top 25 most endangered primates in the world.
It is estimated that only 280 of these rare apes exist in the wild. Main threats to this species are hunting for bushmeat, disease and loss of habitat.
Photograph right - Nyango, from Limbe Wildife Centre Cameroon, by Julie Hoddinott.
Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) [Image by D Proffer]
The mountain gorilla is a sub species of Eastern gorilla. They are found in three national parks within the virunga Volcanic mountains of Cantral Africa. The Virungas of Western Republic of Congo, the volcanoes of north-west Rwanda and Mgahinga of north-west Uganda. There is also another popluation in the Bwindi Inpenetrable National Park of Uganda. It is thought that this population may be a third sub species of Eastern Gorilla, but it has not yet been confirmed.
Mountain gorillas have coats that are thicker and longer than the other gorilla species. This enables them to survive the colder climates of the mountain regions.
A 2004 survey showed that there were 380 individuals left in the wild, however in 2007, a survey of the Bwindi National park population showed a 6% rise in numbers. It has recently been discovered that the mountain gorilla evolved from Eastern gorillas around 800,000 years ago. Critically endangered, their main threats are poaching, disease and habitat loss.
Eastern Lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri)
The Eastern Lowland is a sub species of Eastern Gorilla and is the largest of all the gorillas. In fact, it is the largest of all the primates. They are found only in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on the borders of Rwanda and Uganda, within Virunga National Park.
It is estimated that there are only 2,500 Eastern Lowland gorillas left in the wild, which makes them critically endangered. The main threat to the species is poaching, disease and habitat loss.