Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates (though homo sapiens are on very rare occurrences larger). They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzeespecies.

Gorillas' natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland Gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.

Gorillas have a patchy distribution. The range of the two species is separated by the Congo river and its tributaries. The western gorilla lives in west central Africa while the eastern gorilla lives in east central Africa. Between the species and even within the species, gorillas live in a variety of habitats and elevations. Gorilla habitat ranges from montane forests to swamps. Eastern gorilla live in montane and submontane forests ranging 650–4000 m (2132-13,123 ft). Mountain gorillas live in the montane forests at the higher ends of the elevation range while eastern lowland gorillas live in submotane forests at the lower ends of the elevation range. In addition, eastern lowland gorillas live in montane bamboo forests as well as lowland forests ranging from 600–3308 m (1969-10,853 ft) in elevation. Western gorillas live in both lowland swamp forests and montane forests and live in elevations ranging from sea level to 1600 m (5249 ft). Western lowland gorillas live in swamp and lowland forests ranging up to 1600 m (5249 ft) and Cross River gorillas live in low-lying and submontane forests ranging 150–1600 m (492–5249 ft).

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