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Mountain Gorillas vs Grauer’s Gorillas

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We are blessed with two kinds of gorillas in the Gorilla Highlands, both endangered subspecies of the eastern gorilla.

The much better known mountain gorillas, popularised through the efforts of Dian Fossey, have over the decades grown in number from a couple of hundreds to over a thousand individuals. This is purely a result of conservation and tourism working hand in hand. Grauer’s or eastern lowland gorillas are endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country suffering from years of turmoil. Their numbers have dropped by almost 80%, to about 3,500, over a similar period. As a comparison, western lowland gorillas number about 200,000.

Your gorilla tracking won’t differ if you opt for mountain or Grauer’s gorillas, and in fact both subspecies are rather similar. Grauer’s is the biggest of all gorillas, with males growing to almost 2 metres or 6 feet and 5 inches. The tallest mountain gorillas are shorter by some 20 centimetres or 8 inches. They do, however, have longer hair than Grauer’s gorillas.

While a gorilla group of any subspecies is led by a silverback, a mature male whose back has greyed, there are some differences. Mountain gorilla groups can have two or more silverbacks, Grauer’s only one. Grauer’s gorillas also have wider home ranges and nest high in the trees while mountain gorillas overnight exclusively on the ground.


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  1. Aah the quizzes are great, but I just got 3 out of 5 correct so need to re-watch the insights again 😄🤓