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What is the lifespan of a gorilla?

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Quick Answer

In the wild, gorillas have a lifespan of 35 years, but they are known to live to up to 50 years in captivity. Gorillas are one of the four species of great apes. The other three great apes are the chimpanzees, orangutans and the banobos.

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Full Answer

Gorillas are the largest of the great apes, with males standing 5 feet 5 inches and weighing 300 to 450 pounds. Females measure 4 1/2 to 5 feet when standing upright and can weigh up to 200 pounds. The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of all the subspecies.

As of December 2014, the oldest living gorilla in captivity is Colo and she is 58 years old. Colo is one of the attractions of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Gorillas are estimated to have a shorter lifespan in the wild because of predation and diseases.

The biggest threat to wild populations of gorillas, however, are humans. Gorillas are susceptible to some human diseases such as hepatitis A, tuberculosis and polio, as well as parasites such as tapeworm. Between November and December 2002, eight groups of gorillas that were being studied by researchers, were killed off by the Ebola virus. Civil wars, political unrest and poaching all contribute to the dwindling population of gorillas in the wild.

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