I have mostly been doing species, and this is actually a subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla. They are so much fuzzier than the other subspecies though, so I'm ok with painting both, plus I love gorillas so much I don't mind giving myself more opportunities to paint them. The males weigh up to 430 pounds, females about half of that. There are only 1000+ remaining of this kind. Gorillas share 98.5% of the same genes with us, which makes them susceptible to the same diseases as we are. Rangers who care for them often have health checks and vaccinations to keep the gorillas healthy.
Gorillas are not the typical target for those who hunt bushmeat. They are often killed for it, but are not the main source. Unfortunately, they can still get caught in the snares meant for the smaller prey, which can lead to them losing their hand or foot due to injury and infection. They are poached, often having their hands, feet, and heads sold to collectors. They are also facing severe habitat loss. The hands as trophies, and losing their hands to snares is why I decided to paint a hand (which in my mind is still attached to a relaxed happy gorilla, NOT detached!). I've been feeling sad with how many animals I'm painting and still have to paint, and wanted to portray that in a painting.
One of the things I love about researching all the animals I'm painting is some of the trivia I learn about them. Did you know that instead of fingerprints, you could use nose prints of gorillas to tell them apart?! I love their noses so that just makes me happy. I also learned that they don't like to get wet, and are actually nervous around chameleons and caterpillars!