About the Eastern Lowland Gorilla

The eastern lowland gorilla, also known as Grauer’s gorilla, is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. It is distinguished from other gorillas by its stocky body, large hands and short muzzle. Despite its size, eastern lowland gorillas subsist mainly on fruit and other herbaceous materials, just like other gorilla subspecies.

Why do they matter

Gorillas play an important role in the tropical forests in which they live. They help disperse seeds throughout the forests and create places where seedlings can grow and replenish the forest. This is vital to the other animals that share their habitat, as well as humans who live in and around the forest and rely on that regrowth to sustain their environments.


Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri): This subspecies consumes parts of at least 104 plant species. Gorillas are able to survive on vegetation such as leaves, stems, roots, vines, herbs, trees, and grasses but such vegetation has relatively low nutritional quality. Therefore, they must consume a larger quantity, but it is available year-round. An adult male gorilla may consume more than 18 kg (40 lbs.) of vegetation per day.

How WFF is Helping

The monitoring of gorillas even in protected areas was very difficult during the years of civil unrest. WWF has since trained Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) staff to carry out surveys of eastern lowland gorillas and to monitor gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, recording details about their biology, location and habitat.


WWF works to create another protected area for the eastern lowland gorilla in the Itombwe Forest, south of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. We are conducting socio-economic studies and engaging with local villages and traditional authorities to determine the best way to proceed. WWF will work with the local people, park authorities and the Congolese government to clearly identify the protected area and assess its legal status.

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