Order Primates

Family Hominidae

Gorilla gorilla gorilla

western lowland gorilla

The gorillas body is massive, with highly developed musculature these animals have tremendous power. Hair and skin is black, adult male have the silver strip on back. Hind legs are much shorter on the front, so gorilla moving fists leaning on the front limbs. The head is large, with a low forehead, massive jaw forward. The forehead is brownish-yellow or grayish-yellow color. Eyes and ears are small. Dark hair covers the whole body except the face, ears, hands and feet.

The body length of males is 160 170 cm, of females 120-140 cm. Male gorillas weigh 140 to 160 kg while adult females usually weigh half as much as adult males at 6080 kg.


Gorila lives in montane, primary and secondary forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Habits and breeding

Females of western lowland gorillas do not produce many offspring due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 9 years.

Communicate using sounds. Twenty-five distinct vocalisations are recognised, many of which are used primarily for group communication within dense vegetation. Sounds classified as grunts and barks are heard most frequently while traveling, and indicate the whereabouts of individual group members. They may also be used during social interactions when discipline is required. Screams and roars signal alarm or warning, and are produced most often by silverbacks. Deep, rumbling belches suggest contentment and are heard frequently during feeding and resting periods. They are the most common form of intragroup communication.

Mainly feed on plant food: fruit, leaves and bark of young shoots, roots.

Natural populations of gorillas are reduced by the destruction of their natural habitats and forests. Unfortunately these animals are also often killed by people shooting them for fun and eating, smuggling of cubs and body parts.

In captivity, gorillas reproduce poorly. Usually give birth once every 3-4 years. Cub breastfeeding 1-1.5 years and long care youth. The gestation period lasts 245-289 days. Gorilla infants are vulnerable and dependent, thus mothers, their primary caregivers, are important to their survival. Male gorillas are not active in caring for the young, but they do play a role in socialising them to other youngsters.

International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the western gorillas as CR (critically endangered). Ebola hemorrhagic fever has reduced their numbers by one-third between 1992 and 2007. Poaching, logging, commercial hunting and civil wars in countries where gorillas live are also threats to species.

Zoos worldwide have a population of 550 western lowland gorillas.

Gorilla in Kyiv Zoo

Story of our Toni

The star of Kyiv zoo collection is Toni, the male of western lowland gorilla. He is 40-year-old and he was born in the city zoo of Nuremberg (Germany) in August 2, 1974.

In frames of EAZA program in September 29, 1999 Toni arrived in Kyiv zoo where Dora, the female was living and waiting for him.

Unfortunately since May 2004 Toni is alone. He is not only the one gorilla in Kyiv zoo but also is the only one gorilla in the whole territory of Ukraine.

Every day our gorilla eats more than 8 kg of different food.

Keepers use food and toys but also TV and journals for the enrichment.

Tony is a serious animal and does not like when visitors tease or somehow hurt him. In this case he might react in a very aggressive manner and even throw food and wastes from his cage, so visitors should better behave near the gorilla properly and do not tease him.

In autumn 2014 both winter and summer enclosures for Tony were upgraded and increased in size. These enclosures are even slightly exceed in size the standards of keeping animals in captivity. Zoo carekeepers are constantly working on improving living and feeding conditions of Tony to ensure him comfortable life.

In nature gorillas live 30-50 years. In August 2014 Kyiv Zoo invited visitors to celebrate Tony's birthday - his 40th anniversary. Our veterinarians, zoologists and zoo keepers carefully monitor the state of Tony health. We are very proud of our long-liver animals.

Tony is always happy to see new visitors and receive presents!