LIVE WEBCAM - GORILLAS IN THE CONGO FOREST
More info: The GRACE Centre was established in 2009 to provide care for rescued gorillas and work with Congolese communities to promote the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat. The Centre is located in a remote area next to the Tayna Nature Reserve, home to around 300 gorillas, along with other endangered wildlife including chimpanzees and okapi.
The Grauer’s gorilla is found only in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo whereas the mountain gorilla is found in DRC and also Uganda and Rwanda. The Grauer’s gorilla used to be called the eastern lowland gorilla but the name was changed to better reflect the range of habitats in which they are found. While the majority of Grauer’s gorillas do live in lowland forests at altitudes as low as 600m, their range extends up to 2900 meters. This overlaps in to the habitat where mountain gorillas are found and explains why lowland gorilla was not an accurate name. As with other mature male gorillas, they sport a swath of silver-coloured hair down the center of their back, leading to the nickname, “silverback.”
Grauer’s gorillas are highly social animals who live in family groups (troops) – typically comprising between two and 30 individuals. The group is led by a dominant male silverback and typically includes three unrelated adult female gorillas and four or five young gorillas. Subordinate male gorillas may also be members of the troop.
When subordinate male Grauer gorillas reach puberty at around 15 years old, they leave the troop and spend time alone before either joining another troop where they can become the dominant male or attracting their own females to form a new troop.
Once a male gorilla has secured his place as the head of the troop, he typically remains with that troop for life, unless forced out by another male vying for the role as leader. Fights among dominant silverbacks for exclusive breeding privileges with mature female gorillas can be intense and even result in the death of one of the contenders.
The lifespan of a Grauer's gorilla is 35 to 50 years in the wild.