What do you call a group of gorillas ? What is a group of gorillas? A group of gorillas or a family of gorillas is called a troop. A troop of gorillas is usually made up of one dominant adult male or silverback, several adult females, and their off-springs. Also, gorilla groups with multiple males also exist.
A silverback gorilla is usually 12-13 years of age and is named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on its back that signals full adulthood.
Males and females usually depart from their original/natal families. In mountain gorilla families, however, females emigrate from their natal groups more often than males.
Also, adult male gorillas often depart from their natal troops to form their own families by attracting emigrating females.
But adult male mountain gorillas in some cases stay in their natal troops and become subordinate to the dominant silverback.
If a dominant silverback dies, these adult males can become dominant or leaders of the family. In mountain gorilla groups, when a silverback dies, the females and their offspring usually emigrate to new groups.
This is because, without silverback to protect them, the babies will likely fall victim to infanticide. Joining a new troop is regarded as a tactic against this.
However, this isn’t the case with the Eastern Lowland Gorillas. Female eastern lowlands gorillas and their offspring have been recorded staying together after the death of the dominant silverback until a new silverback transfers into the group. This likely serves as protection from leopards.
In a gorilla family or troop, the silverback is the center of attention;
- He makes decisions
- Mediates conflicts
- Determine the movement of the troop
- Lead it to appropriate feeding areas, and
- Takes responsibility for the safety and wellbeing a gorilla family.
Subordinate males to silverback, called blackbacks, can serve as backup protection to the family. Blackback gorillas are aged between 8 and 12 years and lack silver hair on their back.
Gorilla troop sizes tend to vary with the gorilla species. There are two gorilla species (Eastern gorilla and western gorilla), each species divided into 2 subspecies.
Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) lives in troops of about 5 to 35 gorillas. The average troop size is about 10 individual. They tend to have larger groups than western gorillas.
Only 36% of gorilla groups have more than one adult male, with 61% containing the typical ratio of one adult male with a group of females. The remaining 3% are either solo males or groups made up of only males.
The eastern gorilla species lives in East-Central Africa and is divided into two subspecies including;
- Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) that lives in three countries: Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park; Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga National Park. They are classified as endangered with about 1063 individuals living in the wild.
- Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) also known as the Grauer’s gorilla is another subspecies of eastern gorilla found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kahuzi Biega and Maiko National Park. This subspecies is currently classified as critically endangered at about 3,800 and are the most rapidly declining of all gorilla subspecies.
- Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) lives in groups from 2 to 20 individuals. The species lives in Western Africa and is divided into two subspecies including the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and Cross-river gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
Western lowland gorilla lives in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The current population is around 95,000.
Cross river gorilla lives Cameroon-Nigeria border region. They are classified as critically endangered by IUCN. About 250-300 cross-river gorillas remain in the wild and are the rarest of the four gorilla subspecies.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is done in Volcanoes National Park or Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo is done in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park