Gorillas are the largest of the living apes, although the Western gorilla is smaller and lighter than its Eastern counter-part. Despite being the more numerous and widespread gorilla species, the severe threats of hunting, infectious disease and habitat loss make western gorillas at a greater risk of a population collapse in 30 years.
The World Conservation Union lists the western gorilla as critically endangered, the most severe denomination next to global extinction, on its 2007 Red List of Threatened Species. The Ebola virus might be depleting western gorilla populations to a point where their recovery might become impossible.
Poaching, commercial logging and civil wars in the countries that compose the western gorillas' habitat are also threats. Furthermore, reproductive rates are very low, with a maximum intrinsic rate of increase of about 3% and the high levels of decline from hunting and disease-induced mortality have caused declines in population of more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years.
The western gorilla is an omnivorous animal, but the majority of it's diet is made up of eating fruit which the western gorilla is known to travel vast distances through the forests to find. There are more than 100 different types of fruit trees that the Western gorilla will dine on. Many of them are seasonal so they will consume different ones throughout the year. They also eat twigs, leaves, grass, and small insects including termites.
Gorillas live in groups averaging 10 and occasionally over 20 individuals, composed of at least one adult male, several adult females and their offspring. Females transfer to another group before breeding, which begins at eight to nine years old; they care for their young infant for the first four to five years of its life.
In captivity, gorillas have displayed significant intelligence and have even learned simple human sign language.