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Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), Odzala National Park, Republic of Congo ©Will Burrard-Lucas

"Photographing gorillas in the Congo was an incredible experience. These gorillas have only recently been habituated to humans and as a result they seem more wild than their mountain cousins. This chap is the dominant silverback of one group and he was keen to assert himself. On more than one occasion he charged out of the undergrowth towards me. You can see a behind-the-scenes video of this experience here."

   

LET'S TALK NUMBERS: Although there are 95,000 remaining individuals living in the tropical forests of six African countries, the western lowland gorilla population has seen a steep 60% decline in its numbers over just 25 years.

   

THREATS: Logging of their rainforest kingdom, as well as serious poaching for the bushmeat trade are the main threats to this gorilla subspecies, as well as the sad reality of young gorillas being traded as pets. The Ebola virus has also had a significant effect on their numbers, and has virtually extirpated gorillas from a great deal of otherwise intact forest.

   

IUCN RED LIST STATUS: Critically Endangered.

   

HOW TO HELP: Become a member of The Gorilla Foundation or donate to support their programmes.

   

To find out more about the western lowland gorilla, read: Africa's Great Apes.