Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gorilla Infanticide

Bomassa is safe from Gorilla Infanticide. Bomassa and Apollo and the rest of their troop are Western Lowland Gorillas, species name Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla. In the wild, they live near the equator in Africa, in the forested lowlands of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Congo, Gabon, Angola, and perhaps the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At one point, they were found also in Nigeria, but now are extinct there, due to agricultural and industrial pressures on land which formerly provided the appropriate habitat. 

With black skin and no tails, the western lowland gorilla grows to be a very large animal, with the males reaching some 400 pounds and a height of about five feet eight inches or so. As we have mentioned right here in this blog, the females are only about  half the size of the males. The female chooses to mate only with the largest strongest male available, in order to protect her young. When the silverback of the troop is inevitably displaced by a younger, bigger, stronger male, the newcomer will sometimes begin his reign of the troop by snuffing out any nursing babies.  Lactating mothers can't get pregnant; the usurping male can increase his chances of being able to breed by killing the kids.  Bomassa, secure in the NC Zoo, is not going to have to experience that fate, thanks to the carefully managed Species Survival Plan. No additional grown males will be moved in to the Forest Glade.  Bomassa and his brother will continue to live undisturbed,  in the troop led by their own genetic father Nkosi, until they are about ten years old, at which point they will very probably be placed at another zoo, either to lead their own troops, or to join a bachelor troop.