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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Gorilla gorilla gorilla
Species class: 
Critically Endangered
Population Trend: 
Quick Facts

Life Span: 35 years in the wild, but up to 50 years in capitivty

Size: 1.2-1.8m tall

Weight: 68-181kgs (can be up to 230kgs)

Collective Noun: Troop

Fun Facts

Social and Gentle: The gorilla is a gentle, social animal that lives in close family groups of five to 10 animals. These groups provide safety, protection and opportunities for young gorillas to learn.

Alphas: The group is led by a dominant male called a “silverback.” The Silverback has grey hair on its back which develops with sexual maturity at the age of 11. The Silverback is responsible for leading, protecting and defending the group.

Ranking: Maturing males are called “Blackbacks” and are often driven away from the group by the Silverback when they reach maturity. They then join bachelor groups or start their own families with low ranking females. Ranking is part of the gorilla family's hierarchy. If a low ranking female has an infant her rank may change as she now plays the important role of mother.

Adult females rear the young. The Silverback may have a favourite female among this group. Young females stay with the family until they reach breeding age. They then leave the group to form families with unrelated males.

Chest Beating: Soft chest beating is commonly used for family communication in the dense forest. More threatening chest beating and roaring is used by the Silverback to protect the group and his position. Young gorillas are often seen practising this behaviour.

They like their sleep: Gorillas sleep about 13 hours each night and rest for several hours during the middle of the day. Each gorilla builds two nests every day - one for the midday sleep and one for the night. A nest is never used twice. The nests are made by bending plants, leaves and branches into a springy platform, usually on the ground or in low trees.

Distribution Map: 

Western Lowland Gorillas are found in central Africa, Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. They live in groups of up to 30 individuals consisting of one dominant male known as a Silverback, adult females and their offspring of varying ages. Silverbacks weigh around 200kg and can be identified not only by their size but by te silver colour on their backs that develops as they mature. 

Western Lowland Gorillas are Critically Endangered. Wild gorilla populations have dropped by 80% since 1950. Here at Taronga we have proudly been participating in a regional breeding program for many years. We have been excited to welcome 3 infants born into our troop since introducing our male Silverback Kibali to Mbeli, Johari and Frala.

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo Sydney we have seven Western Lowland Gorillas in our troop.

Kibali (born 25 March 2001) - La Vallée des Signes, France

Frala (born 20 June 1981) - Apenheul Primate Park, Netherlands. 

Fabumi (born 13 May 2015) - Taronga Zoo Sydney, Australia

Mbeli (born 15 February 2003) - Taronga Zoo Sydney, Australia. 

Mjuuku (born 28 October 2014) - Taronga Zoo Sydney, Australia

Mwamba (born 2 September 2017) - Taronga Zoo Sydney, Australia

Johari (born 26 April 2000) - Taronga Zoo Sydney, Australia

Our gorillas will spend their days looking for food, eating and resting, as well as playing with and teaching their young. They can be quite 'shy' and private, just like trekking for gorillas in the wild, we recommend being quiet and patient when you visit the Gorilla Forest. Mjuuku and Fabumi especially enjoy the challenging environment of the viewing rooms to the right of the Gorilla Forest, and can sometimes be seen playing in here. 

The best time to see our gorillas is at the scheduled feeds and keeper talk. See the Taronga Zoo Sydney Map and notice boards around the Gorilla Foest for these times. 


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