As many of my friends know – gorillas are comfortably my favourite animal. About 98% of our genome is shared with the gorillas. The IUCN Red List of 2013 divides the gorillas, up into four subspecies, the Mountain, Cross River and Eastern and Western Lowland Gorilla.
Arguably, the Mountain Gorilla has been studied the most, they featured in zoologist Dian Fossey’s infamous study on them from 1966 until her death in 1985. Her story features in the film “Gorillas in the Mist”. Her study centred around unlocking the secrets behind the behaviours of Mountain Gorillas in the Rwandan Mountain Forest. The film showcased her incredible relationship she built up with the gorillas over the period of her study – and told the story as she began to protect them.
As this study began to uncover, each subspecies of gorilla has its own unique habitat, feeding schedule and to an extent personality. Over the years we’ve started to investigate other gorilla subspecies in more detail – but until recently it was predominantly just the Mountain Gorilla that had been investigated. Research now centres around understanding the gorilla’s behaviour and how to optimise it in a captive environment.
Take a look at this clip from Gordon Buchanan’s “Gorilla Family and Me” and this incredible insight into the world’s largest living primate.