Different Mountain gorilla families are found in four national parks in the whole world which include; Volcanoes national park in Rwanda Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda. Volcanoes national park is one of the parks that form the Virunga conservation areas which also includes Virunga and Mgahinga national parks.
Volcanoes national park has more than 10 habituated gorilla families that are ready for tourism, they include the following.
Susa gorilla family.
This is the Biggest gorilla family in Volcanoes national park. This group had 42 members but has 22 members now. It is the first group the famous primatologist Dian Fossey made research on when she arrived in the park. This group became famous when it gave birth to a set of twins (Byishimo and Impano) in 2004. The group has 4 silverbacks,3 sub-adult males, three juveniles, and 4 infants. The group was named after Susa river where Dian Fossey first sighted it.
Hirwa Gorilla family
This is another Gorilla family in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. “Hirwa” is a Kinyarwanda word meaning lucky. The group is led by Silverback Munyinya. Munyinya came from the main Susa group in 2002and somewhat disappeared for about 4 years, until it came back on June 17th, 2006 when it showed up with a couple of other individuals. Munyinya Increased the size of his group by grabbing individuals from surrounding groups such as Agasya, sabyinyo, and Kwitonda. In August 2019 the group migrated to the neighboring Mgahinga national park where it stayed for almost 8 months, unfortunately, four of its members were struck by lightning before they crossed back to volcanoes national park. The Group has now 14 members. This group is also known to have the second ever surviving set of twins after the main Susa group.
Kwitonda Gorilla family
Kwitonda Gorilla family first lived in Virunga national park in Congo, the group was formed in 1995 in the Virunga national park in democratic republic of Congo but migrated to volcanoes national park in Rwanda in 2003 where it has got a permanent settlement now. The group is named after the dominant silverback Kwitonda. The group roams between mount Sabyingo and Mount Gahinga. Kwitonda died in 2012 due to old age and left Akarevuro and Kigoma both silverbacks fighting for leadership of the family. Finally, Akarevuro won the fight and gained the full leadership of the family. The group has 35 members with 4 silverbacks, 11 adult females,4 black backs,3 subadultmales2 juveniles, and 11 infants. Kwitonda family is the largest group of all the gorilla families in volcanoes national park with even the highest number of infants.
Igisha gorilla family
This is another gorilla family found in volcanoes national park. It is a group that separated from Susa B from November 30th, 2014, it is a group headed by the dominant silverback Igisha. the group apparently has 23 members including 4 silverbacks,7 adult males2 blackbacks, 5 juveniles, 8 infants, 4 black backs, and 3 sub-adult females.
Karisimbi gorilla family.
This is another gorilla family found in volcanoes national park, this family is named after the highest mountain Karisimbi which is one of the 5 volcanoes encompassing the park. This group was formed after the separation of the main Susa group and is led by a dominant silverback Nyagakangaga.the split happened on June 28th, 2009. Nyagakangaga left with 13 individuals and formed his own family called Susa B but the name was changed to Karisimbi in 2010 during the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony. The group was named Karisimbi because it roams within and around mount Karisimbi. This is one of the difficult groups to visit due to the fact that some times it moves to higher altitudes on mount Karisimbi. the group has 11 Individuals including 4 silverbacks,1 adult female, 1blck back, 2sub adult females,2 infants, 1 juvenile, and 1 sub-adult male.
Sabyinyo gorilla family.
Sabyinyo gorilla family also lives in volcanoes national park, it is named after the volcano mount Sabyinyo (old man’s teeth) where the group was first spotted. the group is led by a dominant silverback Gihishamwotsi. During its habituation process, the group was called Amavubi(wasps)due to the aggressive character which gave the field team hard times. The group currently has 18 individuals including 3 silverbacks, 6 adult females, 4 juveniles, 1 sub adults, and 4 infants. This group is one of the easiest families to track as it normally roams on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo.
Agashya gorilla family.
This is another gorilla group in volcanoes national park, the group was formally called group 13 due to the fact that it had 13 members at the time of habituation. It was headed by a silverback called Murthi. Murthi died in 1992 leaving behind 3 young males (Munane, Nyakarima, and Kwirinda) who struggled to lead the group. the three males stayed together until Munane became a silverback and led the group. Kwirinda died from injuries sustained in a fight with another group, while Nyakarima left the group. Munane interacted with other groups and acquired females. Unfortunately, he died on May 18th 2002 due to natural causes leaving behind a black back who became the head of this family. The black back associated with the female safari who helped him in controlling the family. Sometime later, a silverback called Agashya from an unknown group came and took over the leadership from the young black back. the group was named Agashya in 2010during the Kwita izina gorilla naming ceremony. The group has 25 members led by dominant silverback Agashya, 6 infants, 3 juveniles 2 sub-adult females 4 blackbacks 6 adult females, and 4 silverbacks.
Umubano gorilla family.
Umubano is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “leave together”, this group was once part of the Amahoro gorilla family but because of the dynamics in the gorilla families Silverback Charles didn’t agree with Ubumwe the dominant silverback he broke up with him and left with some females from the Amahoro family. This family has 11 individuals. it is also one of the easiest groups to track and one of the peaceful gorilla family in volcanoes national park.
Uganda gorilla family.
This is another gorilla family in volcanoes national park, the word Uganda means” being on the move” in Kinyarwanda. These gorilla families live in the locations of mount Karisimbi. This group is difficult to track due to its character of always on the move. The group has 11 individuals including 2 silverbacks.
Bwenge gorilla family.
Bwenge means wisdom. The group was formed in 2007 by Bwenge the dominant silverback after separating from his family. It was joined by females from other families hence making his own family. The family has 11 individuals but sometimes it is difficult to reach as it lives on high altitudes of Karisoke volcano.
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