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Habituated Mountain Gorilla groups in Rwanda

Habituated Mountain Gorilla Groups in Rwanda

Rwanda is a famous destination for mountain gorilla safaris which are done only in Volcanoes national park located in northwestern Rwanda in Musanze district, volcanoes national park is a renowned habitat for mountains dominated by rain forests and bamboo forests on volcanoes where mountain gorillas live.

Habituated Mountain Gorilla Groups Rwanda
Habituated Mountain Gorilla Groups Rwanda

This park covers an area of 160 square kilometers encompassing 5 volcanoes of 8 Virunga volcanoes that are Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo.

Virunga national park inhabits over 300 mountain gorillas, half of these mountain gorillas underwent through habituation process to prepare them for mountain gorilla trekking safari. Mountain gorilla habituation process takes about 2-3 years involving identifying mountain gorillas from the wild, the gorillas are identified by sex, age, and later given names.

Mountain gorillas are very social creatures living in groups comprising female gorillas, silverbacks, and juveniles, habituated mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park include

  1. Susa gorilla group (Susa A)

Susa gorilla group is one of the most loved gorilla groups by trekkers and the largest group in volcanoes national park, this group is famous for being the group used during the research on mountain gorillas done by primatologist Dian Fossey.

Susa gorilla group is also referred to as Susa A and is named after Susa River which is near where this group inhabits, initially this group comprised of 48 members, and because of constant conflicts, some family members broke away leaving Susa gorilla group with only 28 members with 3 silverbacks. Susa gorilla group is also famous for its playful young twins Byishimo and Impano who make an encounter with them more exciting.

  1. Sabyinyo gorilla group

Sabyinyo gorilla group is one of the small gorilla groups in Volcanoes national park famous for silverback Guhonda the largest silverback in the park weighing 220 kilograms, this gorilla group is named from Sabyinyo Volcano” Old man’s teeth” where this family inhabits.

Sabyinyo gorilla group consists of 8 members consisting of playful juveniles and under the leadership of silverback Guhonda a very powerful silverback, this is one of the easiest gorilla groups to locate and its playful juveniles make it one of the most loved gorillas in Volcanoes national park by trekkers.

  1. Amahoro gorilla group

Amahoro gorilla group is a peaceful gorilla group inhabiting the slopes of Mountain Visoke, this family famous for its peaceful character but this character has made the group lose most of its members to other groups with aggressive leaders such as silverback Charles.

Amahoro gorilla group consists of 18 members including 2 silverbacks and it is under the leadership of silverback Ubumbwe because Ubumbwe’s extreme calmness has cost him some of his female gorillas to silverback Charles of Umubano gorilla group.

  1. Agashya gorilla group

Agashya gorilla group formerly known as group 13 inhabits the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, this family initially comprised of 13 members from which the group got its previous name “Group 13” and it was under the leadership of silverback Nyakarima.

This group was later named Agashya a Kinyarwanda word meaning News which is the same name for the leader of the group, Agashya gorilla group consists of 27 group members and it is currently under the leadership of silverback Agashya.

  1. Umubano gorilla group

Umubano gorilla group is a very peaceful gorilla group in Volcanoes national park inhabiting on the slopes of Mount Visoke which is the same territory inhabited by the Amahoro gorilla group. Umubano gorilla group comprises 13 members including 2 silverbacks and under the leadership of silverback Charles, silverback Charles broke away from Amahoro gorilla group because of endless conflicts with silverback Umbwe to form his own.

  1. Kwitonda gorilla group

Kwitonda gorilla group is one of the huge gorilla groups in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park consisting of 23 members including 4 silverbacks, this group inhabits on the slopes of mountain Muhabura. Kwitonda gorilla group is led by silverback Kwitonda from whom the group is named, silverback Kwitonda is famous for his humble character.

This group originally inhabited Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo but because of unknown reasons, it moved to Volcanoes national park inhabiting the slopes of Mount Muhabura.

  1. Hirwa gorilla group

Hirwa gorilla group is one of the newly habituated groups in Rwanda’s gorilla habitat volcanoes national park, this family was formed by members from 2 gorilla groups Group 13 and Sabyinyo. Hirwa gorilla group is named after a Kinyarwanda word meaning “the lucky one” which explains the unusual nature of gorillas from two different groups forming one group involuntarily.

Hirwa gorilla group was formed in 2006 and currently consists of 16 group members including a set of twins.

  1. Karisimbi gorilla group” Susa B”

Karisimbi gorilla group also referred to as Susa B inhabits the upper slopes of mountain Karisimbi, this group is a breakaway group from the Susa family comprising of 16 members with one silverback.

This family is one of the hardest gorilla groups in volcanoes national park due to the high altitudes where this group inhabits, Mount Karisimbi stands at an altitude of 4507 meters above sea level.

  1. Ugenda gorilla group

Ugenda gorilla group inhabits on the slopes of Karisimbi volcano in Karisimbi area, this family is named from a Kinyarwanda word meaning “always on a move/mobile” which perfectly fits the wandering nature of this group making it one of the very difficult groups to trek in volcanoes national park.

Ugenda gorilla group comprises 11 group members including 2 silverbacks inhabiting the slopes of Mountain Visoke.

  1. Bwenge gorilla group

Bwenge gorilla group is a famous gorilla group as some of its members featured in the Hollywood award-winning movie “Gorillas in the mist”, this group was formed in 2007 by silverback Bwenge who left his birth group to form his own with some female gorillas who joined him.

Bwenge gorilla group is lead by silverback Bwenge from whom the group gets its name and it consists of 11 gorillas, this group inhabits the steep slopes of Karisoke volcano which makes it one of the difficult gorilla families to trek in volcanoes national park.

  1. Titus gorilla group

Titus gorilla group gets it’s named from silverback Titus who is a famous mountain gorilla in Volcanoes national park who is also the leader of this group, silverback Titus was born during the period American primatologist Dian Fossey carried out her research on mountain gorillas.

Silverback Titus lost his family at a younger age as they were murdered by poachers living him alone, Titus gorilla family inhabits on the slopes of mount Kasirimbi and Visoke.

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