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Gorilla Time At The San Diego Zoo Safari Park

western gorilla

                                                       Just One More Bite Please!

The San Diego Zoo is home to several Western Lowland Gorillas, including this 2 year old. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Western Lowland Gorillas are considered critically endangered. Though the Western Lowland Gorillas are endangered, they are much more common than the Mountain Gorillas. The Western Lowland Gorillas are part of a special zoo program in San Diego to help increase their numbers world-wide. This little girl became a new big sister in October 2016, when a new baby was born. Like all the animals at this special zoo, the gorillas live a good life. The San Diego Zoo goes to great length to copy their natural habitats as closely as possible. Their contentment is seen in that they are active in breeding.

The Western Lowland Gorilla lives deep in the rain forests and is native to several Central and Western African countries. Because they live so deep in the rain forests, they are seldom seen by people.  Due to their natural isolation, it is not known exactly how many gorillas are living in the wild. The estimation for the number living in the wild are quite low, though.

Even though their are many similarities between the Mountain Gorillas and the Western Lowland Gorillas there are several clear differences. The Western Lowland Gorillas are smaller with shorter arms and hair. This makes it easy to identify the two groups in the wild.  In these tropical forests, the troops are able to find plenty to eat. They are vegetarians and like to snack on roots, fruits, new shoots, tree bark and love wild celery.

Like all gorillas, the Western Lowland Gorilla live in small communities called a Troop. Each troop has their own territory. Their territory may be less than a square mile or as much as 16 square miles.  A troop is usually around 30 members. The troop is made up of one older adult male who is the head. He usually has a patch of silver hair in the midst of his black hair and is referred to as a Silverback. The rest of the troop is made up of several younger males and many females with their children. If you want to be entertained, sit quietly and just watch the interactions between the members of any troop.

Though gorillas can climb trees, they spend most of their time on the ground. The leader of the troop is a true alpha male. He often spends a lot of time and energy organizing things like eating, nesting, and other activities. He may show expressions of great power in order to get the troop to follow as they should. Even at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, you see this interaction among the troop. Spend a few minutes and you will see the dominate male in action. If you are there at the right time, someone might not follow his lead. This alpha male can be quite aggressive, very vocal, stand upright, pound his chest, or any number of other things. He will continue until all are doing as he has directed. Life is never dull when visiting a troop of gorillas.

If you are looking for a day of adventure close to home, consider the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. There are many activities that you can enjoy while there, or just simply enjoy all the many animals, reptiles, and birds. There is something unique and different for every age at the San Diego Zoo. So come on down to the zoo, where there is never a dull moment.

Published on Feb. 7, 2017 at: