Gorillas: an endangered specie

I’m sure that you can remember King Kong’s scene in Empire state of New York City, a furious Gorilla that was fighting against loads of airplanes. Movies of the 30s showed a frightening and negative vision of these animals, but also, the attraction of this...

2726
2726

I’m sure that you can remember King Kong’s scene in Empire state of New York City, a furious Gorilla that was fighting against loads of airplanes.

Movies of the 30s showed a frightening and negative vision of these animals, but also, the attraction of this amazing animal to the main female character (Ann Darrow[1]). Moreover, this film exposed the great intelligence and sensitive of this kind of species. Gorillas are herbivorous primates that live in forest of Central Africa. They are principally vegetarians; their nutrition is mostly fruits, leafs and occasionally they can consume some insects (but this is only the 1 or 2 per cent of their diet)[2].

They are the biggest of primate species, and third in similarity to the human being (After Bonobo and Common Chimpanzee). Their DNA is approx. a 97%-98% related to humans. According to their common features, both species have 32 teeth, and have a unique nose print (like we have unique fingerprints)[3]. Furthermore, seems incredible how these animals live together in very strong structures, organized and managed by a leader. This hierarchy rules that young male must leave the group slowly when the individual reach 11 years old; is at this age when start to live alone or with other males  2 or 5 years before to set up another group with a female to have descendants[4].

Let´s talk about “Silverback”, an adult male more than 12 years old, which is called this way because of a silver mark on his back. This male (living in a Zoo) is really strong and dominant ( they lead groups of 5 or 30 individual) and he has the responsibility of the welfare state of the group, make the decisions, intermediate in conflicts and guide to places to feed. If “Silverback” is feeling threated they will shout and beat one’s chest, and when the dominant individual die, the group will be divide and one will look for a new lead.

Nowadays, after some decades after King Kong´s movie and with more scientific knowledge about these animals, we have a new vision of gorillas. Thomas Breuer, member of the Wildlife Conservation Society, did some studies in 2005 to observe Gorillas’ behavior in their natural habitat[5]. One of the studies explained that in Nouabalé-Ndoki (National Park of Congo Republic), how a gorilla’s female had used a stick to measure the marsh’s depth before cross it. And another one was seen using a trunk as a bridge to support him while he was fishing[6].

In spite of this fascinating facet, gorillas are one of the species most damaged for humans; suffering consequences caused by poaching and destruction of their habitat owing to armed conflicts is endangered. Furthermore, other risk are human diseases, gorillas have no defenses and died[7].

Before this species became extinct, don’t you think we should do something about it?

By Marta Gutierrez Velazquez/ marta.gvel@gmail.com

 

References
[1] http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0002815/

[2] The Gorilla Organization. http://www.gorillas.org/

[6]  Breuer T, Ndoundou-Hockemba M, Fishlock V (2005). “First Observation of Tool Use in Wild Gorillas”. PLoS Biol. Available at: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030380.

[7] Why are Gorillas endangered?: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_gorillas_endangered

In this article


Join the Conversation