Wild Mother Eastern Lowland Gorilla
East Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
This 30-year-old gorilla has had many children in her time. Living in the forests of DRC, where civil war was all around her she knew that the world needed love and protection, especially her babies. But she didn’t want to protect only her own, she wanted to protect every baby all over the world. But there was no way she could do this alone. She looked to her closest relatives, the ones who had caused so much destruction in her home but also the ones she had witnessed having an endless capacity for love, humans. She looks to them to become protectors alongside her and guardians of all wildlife.
Also known as Grauer’s gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla is the largest out of the four gorilla species and one of our closest relatives sharing 98% of our DNA. Their fur is jet black and the males develop a beautiful silver fur on their backs as they mature, giving them the name silverback. They spend most of their time eating their favourite foods which include fruits, leaves, stems, bark, and on occasion small insects such as ants and termites.
Eastern lowland gorillas are very social and very peaceful animals. They live in groups, from 2 to over 40 members, mainly female and led by a dominant male. About a third of the groups have two full-grown males, creating a harem. Females and males reach sexual maturity at different ages: 8 years old for females and 12 years old for males. A mother will give birth to one baby at a time who she will breastfeed for about three years. The baby will stay close to its mother for protection even when they start to walk at 35 weeks old. They will stay with her for three or four years before finding their own community once they reach sexual maturity.
The numbers of eastern lowland gorilla are estimated to be around 3,800, a 50% decline since the 90s. However, it is difficult to know for sure because of the civil unrest that has been raging in the DRC for decades. The gorillas face many threats concerning this, their national parks having their funding cut, illegal mines being set up in their homes, and less monitoring making it easier for people to hunt gorillas for bushmeat. One of the things that fuelled the civil unrest is mining for tin, gold, diamond, and coltan (used in cell phones). Illegal mining outcrops have popped up all over the gorilla’s home, which also attracts people to hunt gorilla and trade the babies on the illegal pet trade. They have also faced massive habitat loss and fragmentation as people move in and destroy the gorilla’s homes for livestock.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/