Western Lowland Gorilla
Western lowland gorillas can be distinguished from other gorilla subspecies by their slightly smaller size, their brown-grey coats and auburn chests. They also have wider skulls with more pronounced brow ridges and smaller ears.
Large numbers have not protected the western lowland gorilla from decline. Because of poaching and disease, the gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years. Even if all of the threats to western lowland gorillas were removed, scientists calculate that the population would require some 75 years to recover.
What we do
WWF has helped to develop opportunities for tourism in the Gamba Protected Areas Complex of Gabon and the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas in the Central African Republic and is pursuing other opportunities in places such as Campo Ma’an and Lobeke National Parks in Cameroon. Through these programs, tourists are able to see western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat, while local communities benefit from programs for rural development and sustainable natural resource use.
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Unsustainable logging practices, commercial hunting and fishing, and oil and gas development threaten the western lowland gorilla across its range. WWF and its partners are working to establish a network of protected areas across the Congo Basin and are promoting development of logging and mining industries that are well managed both ecologically and socially.
SPECIES QUICK FACTS
Disease: Central Africa is home to not only gorillas, but also the deadly Ebola virus. Ebola has caused a number of massive gorilla and chimpanzee die-offs in the remote forests at the heart of the primates’ ranges.
'HABITUATING' GORILLAS IN DZANGA-SANGHA
WWF has long worked with local BaAka trackers as part of the habituation program, capitalizing on their knowledge of their forest homeland and their ability to locate the gorillas even when traces of the animals are elusive. Tourism money is a key part of forest and gorilla protection in this region. 40% of the money from park entry fees at Dzanga Sangha, for example, is dedicated to programs in the local community that promote rural development and sustainable use of natural resources