The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on 4 September 2016 listed the eastern gorilla, the largest living primate, as critically endangered in its latest red list of threatened species.
The eastern gorilla was listed in the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that was released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaii.
The IUCN stated that the eastern gorilla has suffered a 70% population collapse over the past 20 years, primarily due to illegal hunting.
The largest living primate’s population is now estimated to be fewer than 5000. Grauer’s Gorilla, one subspecies of Eastern Gorilla, has lost 77% of its population since 1994, declining from 16900 individuals to just 3800 in 2015. Hunting represents the greatest threat to Grauer’s Gorillas.
The second subspecies of Eastern Gorilla, the Mountain Gorilla, is faring better and has increased in number to around 880 individuals.
Four of the six great apes, Eastern Gorilla, Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutan and Sumatran Orangutan, are now listed as Critically Endangered. The Chimpanzee and Bonobo are listed as Endangered.
About eastern gorilla
• The eastern gorilla is a large hominid with a large head, broad chest and long arms.
• It has a flat nose with large nostrils.
• The face, hands, feet and breast are bald.
• The fur is mainly black, but adult males have a silvery saddle on their back.
• When the gorilla gets older, the hair on the saddle of the back becomes white, much like the gray hair of elderly people. This is why the older males are called silverbacks.
• Grauer's gorilla has a shorter, thicker, deep black fur, while the mountain gorilla has a more bluish color.
• Mountain gorillas are restricted to the mountain rainforests and subalpine forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, southwestern Uganda and Rwanda.
• Grauer's gorillas occur across the forests of the Albertine Rift in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
• Eastern gorillas are herbivorous, with a heavily foliage based diet, due lack of available fruit in their habitats.
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