The western lowland gorilla is one of two subspecies of western gorilla (the other being the incredibly rare cross river gorilla) found in the jungles on the African continent. The western lowland gorilla is the most numerous species of western gorilla but is still considered to be critically endangered in the wild.
The western lowland gorilla is found inhabiting the tropical jungles and forests of western and central Africa, along with lowland swamps and secondary forests. The western lowland gorilla is found throughout Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and is also the most likely gorilla to be seen in the world's zoos.
There are two separate sub-species of western gorilla which are the western lowland gorilla and the cross river gorilla. Although only slightly different in appearance, the two western gorilla species are distinguished by their differing skull and tooth sizes, and the cross river gorilla is also much rarer than the western lowland gorilla with only a handful thought to be left in the wild.
The western lowland gorilla is one of the great apes, a group that includes orang-utans, gorillas, humans and chimpanzees. As with the other great apes, the western lowland gorilla has a number of features which makes living in the jungle a bit easier, including having opposable thumbs which come in handy when the western lowland gorilla is peeling fruit.
The western lowland gorilla is an omnivorous animal, but the majority of it's diet is made up of eating fruit which the western lowland gorilla is known to travel vast distances through the forests to find. The western lowland gorilla also eats leaves, nuts and berries, along with insects and occasionally small animals such as lizards and rodents. The western lowland gorilla has also been observed using basic tools in the wild in order to more effectively gather food.
Due to it's large size, the western lowland gorilla has few real predators in it's native African forests, with large cats such as leopards and the odd crocodile being the only real natural threat to the western lowland gorilla. The biggest threat to the western lowland gorilla is habitat loss caused by deforestation and also being hunted by humans. Parts of the western lowland gorilla's territory have also been taken over by civil unrest in recent years, which, along with poaching, has had a truly devastating affect on wild populations.
The western lowland gorilla tends to live in groups which are led and protected by the alpha male. The alpha male western lowland gorilla also mates with the females in his group, producing generally single offspring, known as babies. The western lowland gorilla babies remain with their mother until they are a few years old and become independent.
Today, the western lowland gorilla is classified as one of the world's critically endangered species with an estimated 95,000 western lowland gorilla individuals thought to be left in the jungles of Africa.