, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 151-168

Feeding ecology of western lowland gorillas in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

The feeding ecology of western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) living in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, northern Congo, was surveyed for one full year. This is the first record to make clear the seasonal changes in the feeding habits of gorillas in a whole year, living in the primary lowland forest almost completely undisturbed. Fecal contents, feeding traces, and direct observation were analyzed with reference to a fruit availability survey. Although the gorillas fed largely on fruits in the forest, their basic diet was fibrous parts of plants, including shoots, young leaves, and bark. Terrestrial herbaceous vegetation, such as monocotyledons of the Marantaceae and aquatic herbs having much protein content and minerals, were frequently eaten even in the fruiting season. As these highly nutritious fibrous foods were superabundant all year, the major foods of the Ndoki gorillas seemed to be those plants. However, they selected fruits as their alternative food resources in the fruiting season. Gorillas foraged on many fruit species, while showing strong preferences for some particular species. The swamp forest, including marshy grasslands, was an important and regular habitat for the Ndoki gorillas.