Endangered Gorillas


blog post photo

© Nat Geo Wild


It’s possible that 100,000 endangered western lowland gorillas live in the lush, dense forests of the Congo Basin. But because of the thick rainforest habitat, it’s difficult for scientists to estimate how many of these animals are left in the wild. And since illegal hunting, logging and outbreaks of disease threaten the region, it’s more important than ever to protect these great apes.

Western lowland gorillas are usually smaller than their mountain counterparts, and they’re arms and hair are a bit shorter. Each night these gorillas collect leaves and create a nest and mattress for sleeping. Western lowland gorillas eat a lot of fruit in their diet, and the Mondika population of the Congo Basin enjoys over 70 types of fruit, plus roots and leaves.

Journey with Primatologist and National Geographic explorer Mireya Mayor as she explores this region and studies these great apes in their wild habitat. Meet Kingo – the 32-year old dominant male silverback – and his harem of females and children.

Mystery Gorillas airs Thursday, December 30th at 11 AM and 4 PM et/pt on Nat Geo WILD.

Like primates? Learn about gorillas using tools in the wild, orangutan nests and how makeshift bridges might help reconnect fragmented big ape populations.