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Gorilla’ Alternative Diet in Bamboo Forest?

Gorilla’ Alternative Diet in Bamboo Forest?


Gorillas spend more time in the secondary forests than in the bamboo or primary forests or in swamps. In the highland sector of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, gorillas select plants to eat. They eat its fruits, bark, flowers, roots and shoots. The secondary forest vegetation is dominated by the Dombeya goetzenni, Hagenia abissinica, Neobutonia macrocalyx etc. from the altitude of 2000m up to 2400m.

In the 1980’s, gorillas could forage enough bamboo shoots for three months September, October and November in the bamboo forest. Something affected the bamboo trees in mid-1990’s and they died in mass often and in many places, and they were replaced with another vegetation such as Dombeya and Macaranga spp. The lack of enough bamboo shoots growth is recognized every year.

Gorillas would rarely feed on Dombeya goetzenni and Macaranga spp. when they were in the secondary forest. But now it is very curious to see gorillas feed on a lot more bark of these plants than before in the bamboo forest.

Is it because they don’t have enough bamboo shoots then they replaced the bamboo shoots with the barks of these plants?

Gorillas eating Dombeya barkThe picture shows how the gorillas of the Cimanuka group fed on Dombeya goetzenni bark in the bamboo forest. I wonder how this is going to affect the gorillas if bamboo shoots continue to disappear.

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