Photographs of Gorillas by Jordi Piqué
The Western lowland gorilla is critically endangered. Its natural habitat is in western central Africa: southern Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and northern Angola. Gorillas are vegetarians and live in families with one adult alpha male “silverback” who is distinguished by his silvery gray back and several adult females with their offspring. Contrary to what some people may think, gorillas are shy and quiet. They accept human presence as long as it does not interfere with their lives and habits.
Gorilla hunting and trade are totally prohibited and one of the greatest threats to their existence is the destruction of the forest for logging and agriculture, and in recent times, the effects of Ebola virus outbreaks, which is causing large mortalities in the Republic of Congo and Gabon, an area that housed 80% of all wild gorillas and where they are estimated to have suffered a loss of 56% in recent years. Despite the fact that all killing, capture or consumption of great apes is illegal, hunting for bushmeat is a primary driver of Western Gorilla decline. The list of causes of the decline of the wild gorilla population also includes the conflicts of war which are frequent in this area.
It is not easy for gorillas to reproduce in captivity so each birth is eagerly awaited and celebrated with great joy. Due to their shy nature, it is difficult to get a photo of the mother with her infant. She’s always protecting her baby from the eyes of humans and even more so from the camera. It took a great deal of patience to be able to photograph these happy moments between mom and baby. Like a human mother, the gorilla looks at her offspring with eyes of special tenderness and plays with her.
I am very happy to be able to capture these intimate moments and strongly feel that gorillas deserve a space in our world as much as we do."