Uganda Travel Blog

Lifespan of Gorillas: How long do Gorillas Live?

Gorillas have species and each specie lives in a distinct environment. Each specie lives up to a certain age hence, the lifespan of gorillas vary according to the specie.

So how long do gorillas live? Just like humans, gorillas have to die at one point. They are also prone to diseases that can claim their lives at time.

Their 98% plus DNA match with that of humans makes them prone to infectious diseases as humans.

Lowland Gorillas only survive in lowlands under captivity where as Mountain Gorillas survive best on mountainous and hilly areas. Mountain Gorillas cannot survive for long in captivity because they are used to cold temperature.

Mountain gorillas are only found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Conservation Area; a perimeter shared by Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park shelters over half the remaining population of mountain gorillas making it the best place to see gorillas in Africa.

Lowland Gorillas live in the forests of Gabon, Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and some places in Congo.

So we shall try to look at the lifespan of gorillas in their respective habitats.

When you go on Uganda gorilla trekking, Rwanda gorilla trekking or Congo gorilla trekking, you will learn more about the habitats of these gorillas.

Gorillas Lifespan in Captivity

How long do gorillas live in Captivity? Gorillas tend to live longer in captivity. They can live up to 60 years.

In 2017, Colo; the oldest gorilla by then in captivity died at the age of 60. She passed on a few weeks after celebrating her 60th birthday.

She spent all her life in Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. This is the same zoo she was born from. She lived 20 years more than an average gorilla in captivity.

The cause of her death is not known till today despite going through a couple of illnesses.

Gorillas Lifespan in the Wild

A gorilla can only live up to 40 years in the wild. They do not have predators (natural enemies) hence, have longer lifespans.

Life in the wild is very risky for these gorillas. For decades, countries have taken charge of their conservation through monitoring their habitats, restricting unauthorized human visits among other measures.

This has kept them safe from poachers and infectious diseases.

Sometimes young gorillas (mostly Juveniles) are killed by Silverbacks (group leaders). A Silverback heads a gorilla family and remains the only one with the rights of breeding and mating within the family.

Silverbacks at times take over another group and go on to kill all the young male gorillas in the troop so that only his offspring remain in the group.

Just like humans, gorillas have characters. Not all Silverbacks do this. Some of them are peaceful, loving and welcoming. Only a few would descend to such an act.

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