These gorillas at Memphis Zoo are more human-like than you’d think

From their actions and facial expressions to the way they operate in groups, gorillas have a ton of human-like tendencies that will blow you away!

The western lowland gorilla is the largest of the living primates, and Memphis Zoo is home to four of these magnificent animals. The longer you spend with them you will notice so many different things about them that are so human-like.  But it’s not just their individual actions that are human-like; the way they interact with one another as a group is very similar to the way that humans interact with one another!

More on the gorillas at Memphis Zoo

As mentioned, there are four gorillas at Memphis Zoo: One male, “Mwelu,” and three females, “Kwizera,” “Penny” and her daughter, “Kebara.”  The interesting part about the way they interact with one another in a group is that there is a definitive social structure between the four of them.  The male is the leader of the group, and in the wild he would be the protector of the group as well as in charge of leading the group to food and a place to rest.  The male also acts as a mediator between the girls in the group; if they begin to squabble or have fights between themselves, the male will step in and separate the girls to keep things cohesive. There is also structure among the females in the group.  The females have a pecking order that they follow, so the entire group has a hierarchy to it.

Quick Facts about gorillas

There are only approximately 95,000 western lowland gorillas left in the wild, meaning they are critically endangered.  While there are only four gorillas at Memphis Zoo, in the wild gorillas live in groups of 10 or even as many as 20 members.  While their size and strength can be quite intimidating, even in the wild gorillas are typically gentle animals unless threatened. The easiest way to distinguish the females from the males is their much-smaller size. You can also tell by the male’s gray hairs on his back. This isn’t a sign of age – all mature males have this “silver back.”