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Gorillas are the world’s largest and heaviest primates. Their height is between 1.25 and 1.75 metres, and males can weigh in at up to 200 kilos. The females are somewhat lighter with 70 to 90 kilograms. The great apes spend lots of time daily with eating. Exclusively herbal food is on the diet of gorillas, with leaves, buds, roots, tubers and much more. The Western lowland gorillas are prevalent in Western Africa near the equator. Their habitat includes rainforests and wetlands.
With their black coat, dark skin, wide nasal processes and their impressive size, the gorillas appear quite sinister at first glance. But the animals live downright peacefully together in groups. Usually one full-grown silverback protects several females and their offspring. Gorillas take care of their young animals in an exemplary manner – for years they are carried around and cared for by their mothers.
Threat and protection
Western lowland gorillas are threatened with extinction. Land clearing, hunting, poaching or diseases which are introduced by humans endanger the populations. Among other things, the Rostock Zoo supports the work of registered association “Mountain Gorilla and Rainforest Direct Aid”, which endeavours to preserve the habitats of gorillas in order to protect the great apes.
Family life at the Darwineum
Gorillas also live together in groups at the Darwineum. Silverback Assumbo – who has been living at the Rostock Zoo since 1999 and is regarded as particularly even-tempered – shares a compound with Yene, Eyenga and Zola. The admission of a young male in the group in October 2016 was a special feature. Kwame came to Rostock from the Heidelberg Zoo. Due to the quiet and peaceful character of gorilla Assumbo, the animal keepers at Rostock Zoo did not see any danger with the integration of the young female in the silverback’s group. Initial tensions, disputes and even minor fights were absolutely normal – this is the only way animals can find their place, because the group itself takes over the role allocation. His caregivers were particularly proud of Assumbo, who superbly accepted his role as silverback and leader of the group.
The gorilla couple Gorgo and Bebe also lives in close proximity.
You can experience these and many other animals at Rostock Zoo, home to 4,500 animals in 450 different species from all over the world.