Gorilla Species Distribution

Distribution Map

Map of the range of western gorillas

Map by Richard Bergl, Ph.D. (2008)

Western Species (Gorilla gorilla)

map of western gorilla distribution

Map by Richard Bergl, Ph.D.(2008)

The western species inhabit the rainforests of central and west sub-Saharan Africa. Western lowland gorillas have a broad distribution across the Congo Basin and are more or less continuously distributed across the countries of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola (Cabinda), Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni), and Congo (Brazzaville). Though present historically in the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), they are now likely extinct there.

In contrast, the Cross River gorilla has a very limited distribution, found only in a relatively small area straddling the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Within this area the gorillas are concentrated in approximately eleven rugged and remote highland sites, which are connected by occasional migration (Bergl and Vigilant 2007).

- Text by Richard Bergl, Ph.D.

Eastern Species (Gorilla beringei)

Eastern gorillas inhabit three countries in central Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda. Grauer's gorillas are found only in DRC and the Bwindi mountain gorillas are found only in Uganda. The habitat of the Virunga mountain gorillas straddles all three countries.
- Text by Tara S. Stoinski, Ph.D.


Bergl, R.A., Vigilant, L. 2007 Genetic analysis reveals population structure and recent migration within the highly fragmented range of the Cross River gorilla. Molecular Ecology 16: 501-516.