For my project, I decided to research and observe the gorillas of the Oklahoma City Zoo. It was interesting to relate what I have learned about the great apes in anthropology class to what I observed in real life. Even though I already had an idea of what to expect from the gorillas, I still came away from the exhibit in amazement of the intelligence and likeliness to humans the gorillas displayed.
Gorillas are located in small areas in central and west central Africa. They are terrestrial creatures that can be found in lowlands and montane tropical forests (â€œAmericaâ€). The exhibit recreated the habitat by including a few big rocks on the side of a hill covered with grass and patches of dirt.
It definitely was not the recreation of a tropical forest, but I could see the exhibit as lowland in Africa. Adjoining the open area of grass was a big concrete room with a kind of jungle gym. Thick pieces of straw littered with peanuts covered the floor of the room. This was obviously a recreation of trees for the younger gorillas to play in. Adult gorillas typically remain on the ground and only venture into trees to build nests (â€œAmericaâ€).
Gorillas usually live in groups called â€œtroops.â€ Troops consist of one silverback male with adult females, maturing males, juveniles, and infants. The group size can range from two to 20 members (â€œBehaviorâ€). The particular troop I observed consisted of one silverback male, one female, and five juveniles. It was easy to pick out the male in the group because of his size. A full-grown gorilla can weigh up to 500 lbs, and the female is much smaller, as was the case in the exhibit (â€œAmericaâ€). It was also easy to identify the male because of the fading gray color on his backside. None of the other gorillas had any such coloration.
Gorillas have a distinct way of moving called â€œknuckle-walking.â€ Gor