Gorillas are one of five species of apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, humans, gorillas, and orangutans). Apes can be distinguished from monkeys and other primates by the absence of a tail after birth. In the world, there are two species of gorillas, the Western gorilla and Eastern (also known as Grauer’s) gorilla, both living in the equatorial regions of Africa. Gorillas are the largest of the ape species, with thick bodies, wide chests and very strong shoulders. Their families are composed of 5 - 15 individuals, typically led by one adult male (a silverback), and supported by two to four females and their offspring. Today, gorillas are threatened due to human disturbances primarily linked to infrastructure expansion, slash and burn agriculture, natural resource extraction, and the illegal meat and wildlife trade. Additionally, gorillas and humans share about 98% of their DNA, making gorillas highly susceptible to many human diseases. These threats have placed substantial pressures on their habitats and capacity to reproduce and live naturally. As a result, gorillas today live in small fragments of their historic ranges.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports Gorilla Rehabilitation Conservation and Education (GRACE), the world’s only sanctuary for Eastern Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to many unique wildlife such as bonobos, kordofan giraffes, okapi, dwarf crocodile, forest elephants, atheris bush vipers, and others, making it a priority region for our efforts. GRACE is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating gorillas, and partnering with communities to support the long-term coexistence of humans and gorillas.
Your actions can impact gorilla conservation. Consider becoming a donor today.
Your visit to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and purchase of gorilla curated items from the Zoo (paintings and enrichment products) contributes to our partnership with GRACE. You can also help reduce the unsustainable usage of materials, which affect the loss of gorilla habitat by recycling electronics with us. Recycle your old cellphone or small electronics by bringing them to the Zoo and dropping them off at the gorilla SAFE dropbox by the gorilla cave in African Forest. Proceeds will directly support the Gorilla SAFE program.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has the largest gorilla troup in its history with eight gorillas. To see these amazing animals, visit our award-winning African Forest habitat. Our Wellness team ensures that animals in our care are given the opportunity to thrive.