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Expert Voices

World's Largest Gorillas Are at Risk (Photos)

Saving gorillas on the brink

Infant Grauer's gorilla on adult

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

Andrew Plumptre is senior conservationist in the Uganda Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). He contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The Grauer's gorilla, the world's largest great ape, is named for Rudolph Grauer, who explored the Itombwe region in the eastern part of present-day Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 20th century. One of four gorilla subspecies, Grauer's gorillas can weigh more than 400 pounds and are closely related to the better known mountain gorilla. In the past two decades, these gorillas have fallen from 17,000 individuals to just 3,800, largely due to bushmeat hunting by local miners. Read more about the gorillas in Saving the World's Largest Gorillas from the Brink of Extinction.

Power in the jungle

grauer's gorillas

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

A Grauer's gorilla silverback male.

Casualties of an unfair war

Poached Grauer's gorilla skulls

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

Skulls of poached Grauer's gorillas.

Worth protecting

Infant Grauer's gorilla on adult

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

An infant Grauer's gorilla.

Silverback Grauer's gorilla

Silverback Grauer's gorilla

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

A silverback Grauer's gorilla on a branch in a forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Willing to serve

Kahuzi-Biega National Park anti-poaching patrol

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

Park rangers carry out an anti-poaching patrol in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hitching a ride

Infant Grauer's gorilla on adult

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

An infant Grauer's gorilla rides on the back of an adult. Grauer's gorillas are the world's largest, and are now in danger of extinction.

Home needing protection

Bamboo forest near Mt. Kahuzi summit

(Image credit: A.J.Plumptre/Copyright WCS)

Bamboo forest near the summit of Mt. Kahuzi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to critically endangered Grauer's gorillas.

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