Gorilla Lifespan: How long do gorillas live?

Gorilla Lifespan: How long do gorillas live?

Gorilla lifespan or how long gorillas live slightly varies according to the gorilla species. There are two species of gorillas, the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). Each of these species are divided into two subspecies which are the eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) and mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) for the Eastern gorilla and the Western gorilla has two sub species which are the western lowland gorilla and cross river gorilla. Gorillas share about 98.3% of DNA with humans which makes them our close relatives after chimpanzees and bonobos. The two gorilla species all live in central Africa.

In the wild, the gorilla lifespan is around 35-40 years. At an age of 35 or more gorillas show distinct signs of old age.

A gorilla family with adults and infants

Old mountain gorillas often suffer from arthritis which mainly damages the bones in their hands and feet, this reduces their ability to move in search of food. At old age they also suffer from the loss of teeth resulting from periodontitis, this causes a problem with feeding. This makes it hard for the gorillas to fulfil their dietary need as they cannot move for long and also feed probably which may eventually lead to their death.

Gorillas are very social and take care of each other in the group, when there is an aged gorilla in the group, the whole family will adjust accordingly to look after the aged members. When the aged individuals realize that death is imminent they retreat on their own from the group or the group decides to abandon them. Gorillas actually grieve and show sorrow after a loss of a member in their group.

Gorillas reproduce at a very slow rate and all through their lifespan, a female gorilla may have 3-4 babies which implies a low rate of population increase among them. Most of the species have survive because of the conservation efforts.

How long do gorillas live in captivity?

In captivity gorillas often live longer sometimes to over 50 years. The oldest gorilla ever recorded was a female western gorilla at the Columbus Zoo that reached the ripe old age of 60 years before its death in 2017. Gorillas live in captivity or zoos which are not their natural habitats except the mountain gorilla species that has failed to adapt to living in captivity.

Mountain gorillas only live in their natural habitats in Africa’s three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Gorilla Cousins Rwanda specializes in planning tours to see specifically the mountain gorilla specie in four national parks. The four Africa national parks which are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.

Mountain gorillas are categorized as endangered in the IUCN Red List because of their numbers. Just like the human population with disparities every day following births and deaths, there isn’t an actual number of the mountain gorillas remaining in the wild however, according to the last census there is an estimate of 1,069 gorillas.

Gorilla Cousins Rwanda has expertise in organizing safe trekking trips to see mountain gorillas in any of their destinations. We customize Rwanda gorilla tours, Uganda gorilla safari trips as well as the Congo gorilla trekking safaris for any kind of traveler who contacts us.


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