These are one of two subspecies of lowland gorilla. They have heavy, compact bodies with broad chests and use strong hands and feet for climbing.
Found in rainforests and swamp forests, they live in groups called ‘troops’ of 10-20. There is usually a single adult male. The dominant ‘silverback’ male maintains a close bond with his females through grooming and staying close to them. When young males mature they will be forced out of the group to start their own troop.
Females start breeding after they have left their family troop, usually at 8-10 years old. They will look after their baby for four years, but it will remain with its family group for much longer.
Fruit, leaves and pith are the main staple of their diet with nuts, termites, and ants being eaten whenever available.
They are hunted for their meat to be sold in markets and as pets. Their habitat is also being destroyed through deforestation. The main reason for population decline in some areas is due to human viruses, especially ebola, being transmitted from local villages.