Mountain gorillas in Rwanda
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda: Rwanda as a county is situated in the eastern region of East Africa and it is known for being a county with numerous mountains that is why it is referred to as a county of a thousand hills, Rwanda is also a globally famous tourist destination consisting of many tourist attractions and national park. One of the major tourist attractions in Rwanda is the endangered mountain gorillas, mountain gorillas in Rwanda are found in volcanoes national park which is the only place you can find mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the 4th national park to host mountain gorillas in Africa.
Volcanoes national park is found in the northwestern region of Africa in Kinigi Ruhengeri, the park covers an area of 160 square kilometers stretching over districts like Burera, Musaze, Rubavu and Nyabihu. Volcanoes national park is part of the great Virunga conservation area which consists of Virunga national park of Democratic republic of Congo, Mgahinga national park of Uganda and Volcanoes national park itself. Volcanoes national park is dotted with 5 volcanoes that is karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo which are part of the 8 volcanoes of Virunga chain. These volcanoes are forested which make them a perfect habitat for mountain gorillas which are fond of living in forested high altitude.
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park are habituated and grouped into families which are available for mountain gorilla trekking experience, these families include
Susa gorilla family (Susa A)
Susa gorilla family is currently the biggest gorilla family in Volcanoes national park habiting at the lower slopes of mountain Karisimbi and consisting of 33 members with 2 silverbacks, this family is apparently the most exciting gorilla family in the park according trekkers and the hardest to trek. Susa gorilla family is also referred to as Susa A, this family is the first family to be habituated in Volcanoes national park and it is the one which was researched by Dian Fossey. Susa A gorilla family originally consisted of 42 members before the power struggle which resulted into the split of some members to form the Susa B group.
Sabyinyo gorilla family
Sabyinyo gorilla family is a group of 13 members with 2 silverbacks, 3 females and 2 juveniles found on the slopes of mountain Sabyinyo, this group is one of the easiest mountain gorilla groups to be trekked in the forests of volcanoes national park. Sabyinyo gorilla family was formed after the death of the leader of group 13, following his death a few females left the group to form their own group in the name of Sabyinyo group and at the time of formation the group consisted of 4 females and 2 silverbacks. The fascinating factor about this group is that it is under the leadership of the largest mountain gorilla in the whole forests of Volcanoes national park, the leader of the group is silverback Guhonda weighing 22o kilograms.
Amahoro gorilla family
Amahoro gorilla family is a large family of 17 members with 2 silverbacks, 2 black backs, 5 juveniles, 5 adult females, 4 young gorillas and under the leadership of silverback Umbwe. Amahoro gorilla family is a hard family to trek due to the terrain leading to Mount Bisoke where it is found, the name Amahoro is a local Kinyarwanda name meaning peace which is manifested in the peaceful character of the group.
Agashya gorilla family
Agashya gorilla family is a family of 27 family members under the leadership of dominant silverback Agashya, this group is formally known as group 13 and it initially started with 13 members under the leadership of dominant silverback Nyakarima who was later overthrown by the current leader of the group Agashya from who the group derives its name. Agashya gorilla family is found and trekked on the slopes of mountain Sabyinyo, the group is named after its dominate silverback and the name Agashya is a local Kinyarwanda word meaning News.
Umbano gorilla family
Umbano gorilla family is a family of 13members including 2 silverbacks, 1 sub adult, 6 infants, 3 adult females under the leadership of dominant silverback Charles, Umbano gorilla family was initially part of the Amahoro gorilla family until the death of then leader of the group and numerous instabilities which followed his death. In the hierarchy of the mountain gorillas group it is the second oldest silverback which takes up leadership after the death of the ruling silverback, this was not the case in the Amahoro group as silverback Charles couldn’t accept and submit to the new leader of the group thus he left the group with 2 females to form his own group. Umbano group is found and trekked on the slopes of mountain Bisoke where Amahoro gorilla family is also found.
Kwitonda gorilla family
Kwitonda gorilla family is a large gorilla family of 23 members under the leadership of dominant silverback Akarevuro, this gorilla family was originally found in Virunga national park of Democratic Republic of Congo but later migrated to Volcanoes national park and it inhabits between the slopes of mountain Sabyinyo and Gahinga. Kwitonda gorilla family is named after the silverback Kwitonda the former leader of the family, silverback Kwitonda died at the age the age of 40 and he was succeeded by a young silverback Akarevuro even though the group had older silverbacks that are Kigoma and Maguma. Silverback Kwitonda died of natural death and his body was found after 10 days as he had run away and disappeared, before his disappearance Kwitonda had allowed males to mate with females of the group.
Hirwa gorilla family
Hirwa gorilla family is one of the newly habituated gorilla families in volcanoes national park, this group consists of 16 members consisting of former members of Sabyinyo gorilla family and group 13. Hirwa gorilla family is under the leadership of dominant silverback Munyinga who is also responsible for the formation of the group, this group was formed when silverback Munyinga got into a conflict with Susa family on an account of mating with several female and with two females he left the group. Along the way Munyinga collected other females and inhabiting on the slopes of mount Sabyinyo were it is trekked, Hirwa gorilla family is one of the lucky gorilla families in Volcanoes national park to have the birth of twins.
Karisimbi gorilla family
Karisimbi gorilla family also referred to as Susa B is a family of 11 members under the leadership of dominant silverback Nyagakangaga, this gorilla family is found on the slopes of mountain Karisimbi and it is one of the hardest gorilla families to trek in Volcanoes national park. Karisimbi gorilla family is a breakaway family from Susa gorilla group (Susa A) and it came into existence in 2009, Susa gorilla family originally consisted of 42 members with about 26 silverbacks. With 13 members silverback Nyagakangaga left the group and initially the group was called Susa B and in 2010 the name of the group was renamed to Karisimbi, Karisimbi gorilla family consists of 4 silverbacks, 1 black back, 2 infants and 1 adult female.
Ugenda gorilla family
Ugenda gorilla family is a family 11 members with 2 silverbacks found and trekked on the slopes of mount Bisoke, Ugenda family is one of the easiest families to trek in Volcanoes national park and more suitable for lazy hikers. Ugenda gorilla is named after a Kinyarwanda slag Ugenda which means mobile which explains the status of group being a mobile gorilla family, this group is found of moving from place to pace on the slopes of mountain Bisoke also referred to as Mount Visoke.
Bwenge gorilla family
Bwenge gorilla family is a family of 11 family members with 1 silverback, this family was established in 2007 when the dominant silverback and the leader of the group left his mother gorilla family with some females to form his own group. Bwenge gorilla family is named after a Kinyarwanda word Bwenge which means wisdom, this family is found and trekked on the slopes of mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. Bwenge gorilla family is a popular gorilla family in Volcanoes national park and in 1988 its members were featured the movie Gorillas in the Mist filmed by Dian Fossey, Bwenge gorilla family has a hard a share of hardships such as a moment when it lost 6 of its infants in a horrific accident.
Titus gorilla family
Titus gorilla family was formed by dominant silverback Titus who is the leader of the group, this family is one of the oldest and first gorilla families to be habituated in Volcanoes national park. Silverback Titus was born in the times when Dian Fossey was carrying out research on mountain gorillas at Karisoke research centre, Silverback Titus took over leadership from silverback Beetme and he ruled the group from 1991 to 2007 when he died of a natural death. Titus was found dead in his nest and he was succeeded by silverback Kuryama his son who is the leader of the group up to now. Titus gorilla family is found and trekked on the slopes of mountain karisimbi.