Gorilla beringei (Matschie, 1903). Two subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Mountain gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Largest of the terrestrial primates, demonstrating extreme sexual dimorphism. The hair is primarily black, and may be quite long with a shaggy appearance. Mature males sport silver hair on their back.
East Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo into Rwanda and Uganda. Gorilla beringei beringei (mountain gorilla), Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo; Gorilla beringei graueri (eastern lowland gorilla), eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Found in primary, secondary, and bamboo forest, but at higher altitudes than the western gorilla.
Polygamous social system. Mixed sex groups generally include one dominant male, multiple adult females, and offspring. Variations may be seen in which more than one adult male is present. Males may also travel alone, or congregate in bachelor groups.
Primarily dependent on vegetation and some fruits. G. b. beringei relies entirely on vegetation. Meat-eating has not been documented, and tool use appears to be absent.
Females show no physical signs associated with ovulation, but give behavioral signals that invite copulation. Mating system is polygamous, and adult males repel rivals who may attempt to lure females away. Infanticide by rival males is well known.
CONSERVATION STATUS Endangered.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Some portions of the population are being severely affected by unsustainable hunting for meat. ♦
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