PROPOSAL FOR A NEW NATURE RESERVE FOR GORILLAS IN AMSTERDAM – 2008
Location: De Ruyterkade, Amsterdam.
Gorillas live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male or silverback, multiple
adult females and their offspring. However, multiple-male troops also exist. The silverback is the center
of the troop's attention, making all the decisions, mediating conflicts, determining the movements of
the group, leading the others to feeding sites and taking responsibility for the safety and well-being
of the troop. Gorillas are divided in three subspecies: the western lowland gorilla, the eastern lowland
gorilla and the mountain gorilla. Eastern lowland gorillas have a population of 4,000 in the wild and
24 in zoos and are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Mountain gorillas are listed as
Critically Endangered, with an estimated population of about 620 left in the wild and none in zoos.
Gorillas are considered highly intelligent. A few individuals in captivity, such as Koko, have been taught
a subset of sign language. Like the other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, have "rich emotional
lives", develop strong family bonds, make and use tools, and think about the past and future.