Gorilla Families In The Volcanoes National Park

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Gorilla Families In The Volcanoes National Park

If you decide to organise a gorilla viewing trip to the Volcanoes National area, you should know that the area is home to 10 habituated gorilla families that are accustomed to human presence. As a result, you are able to approach the families and interact with the gorillas without frightening them.

Each group of eight visitors touring the park is given a specific household that they are permitted to see, and the Rwandan government grants 80 permits per day.

You’ll be shocked to discover that each family has unique traits that set it apart from the others.

The custom of naming infant gorillas at Kwita Izina is ingrained in Rwandan culture and aids in the supervision and defence of every gorilla in the family.

List Of Gorilla Groups in Rwanda

Susa A Group

The Susa A group is arguably the most well-known family because Dian Fossey researched this group from 1967 until her passing in Rwanda in 1985. 42 people made up the initial size of the group, which split into two in 2008.

The Karisimbi group—also known as Susa B—was the name of the seceding family. Susa A normally requires more time to follow since the individuals tend to stray to higher altitudes.

Visitors occasionally cannot monitor this family if the members have migrated too far away, even though park trackers locate the family a day before your visit.

The Susa River, which flows through the group’s area, gives Susa A its name.

There are now 28 members, including 3 silverbacks. Twins named Byishimo and Impano are an intriguing aspect of this family.

Because it is so challenging to care for two mountain gorilla twins, Rwandan mountain gorilla mothers typically abandon one of them, but Nyabitondore decided to raise both of them.

During your primate safari, the knowledgeable guide may also point out Poppy, a gorilla born in 1976 who is thought to have been a member of Dian Fossey’s research team.

Group Karisimbi (Susa B)

The Karisimbi group, which was formed in 2008 when the original Susa A group split, consists of 14 members and is led by 1 silverback.

You can enjoy tracking this group, which resides on the higher slopes of Mount Karisimbi in Volcanoes National Park at elevations up to 4507 metres, if you love the effort of a strenuous walk.

As it frequently takes a whole day of hiking to reach the family, it can take you some time to get there.

However, you must be ready for the possibility that they have moved too far away and it is not possible to monitor them. Trackers typically identify the troop a day before adventurous gorilla-seeking tourists set out on the hike.

Group Amahoro

The Amahoro group, said to be the least violent in Volcanoes National Park, was given its name after the Kinyarwanda term for “peace” or “serenity.”

It was led by a silverback named Ubumwe. Because of his friendliness and good disposition, Ubumwe lost some of his members to the Umubano organisation.

Active tourists will discover that it can take time and effort to reach the Amahoro family’s home grounds because they are located on the mountainside of Mount Bisoke.

There are 12 people in this group overall: 9 adults, including 3 silverbacks, 3 blackbacks, and 2 females. Additionally, 3 juveniles and a baby may be seen.

Ugenda Group

The Kinyarwanda term for “moving” or “mobile,” Ugenda, served as the inspiration for the group’s name.

This group, which consists of 11 individuals, including 2 silverbacks, has the unusual habit of frequently shifting locations.

They don’t seem to favour any certain area, which makes following them a little difficult. They can probably be found in the park’s Karisimbi area.

Umubano group

The Amahoro group once consisted of the Umubano group.

They split off after Charles, a rival silverback, challenged Ubumwe, leader of the Amahoro clan, to a duel.

Trackers in Volcanoes National Park recount how Charles, who had grown into a silverback of equal rank to Ubumwe, resisted following his orders and engaged in frequent conflict with him for months.

Umubano, which means “living together” in Kinyarwanda, is the name Charles gave to his own group. It has 12 members, including 3 silverbacks, 3 blackbacks, 2 females, 3 juniors, and 1 baby.

Gorilla watchers at the park have observed that after the creation of the new group, there is no longer any hostility between the two groups and that the two regularly interact.

Group Sabyinyo

In Volcanoes National Park, the Sabyinyo group lives in the highlands between Mounts Sabyinyo and Gahinga.

In order to maintain his position as the lone alpha male in the family, Guhonda, the lead silverback in this group, has taken aggressive measures, as you will discover during your gorilla safari vacation in Rwanda.

People who are familiar with gorilla behaviour are aware that when a male reaches adulthood and turns into a silverback, he frequently leaves the group.

Ryango, a rival of Guhonda who was overthrown and is still a lone silverback, suffered a similar fate.

Guhonda is the biggest alpha male among the groups that live in volcanoes, weighing a huge 220 kg. He is the leader of a team of sixteen people.

Group Kwitonda

If you decide to follow the Kwitonda group while you’re in Rwanda, you’ll probably find them strolling around on Mount Muhabura’s lower slopes.

Your trip to find them may take longer than you anticipate because they occasionally relocate to greater altitudes.

This 29-member tribe was led by an alpha silverback named Kwitonda, which means “humble one,” until the founder passed away in 2012. Due to their high levels of migration from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this cohort is distinctive.

The group consists of two silverbacks, two blackbacks, ten adult females, one sub-adult male, seven youngsters, and seven young.

Group Hirwa

The Hirwa tribe is headed by Munyinya, an alpha silverback.

Trackers who travel with tourists claim that this group was created in June 2006 when two families’ members split off to form a new group.

The Sabyinyo group had some of the members, and the Agashya group, often known as Group 13, had some of the other members.

The name of this family, which translates to “lucky one,” was only the result of pure luck; there are currently 19 members.

In Volcanoes National Park’s lower slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, close to Mount Gahinga, hikers are likely to come across this group searching for food.

One silverback, one blackback, five adult females, one sub-adult female, six juveniles, and five newborns make up the family.
Agasya group

Of all the groups in Volcanoes National Park, the Agashya group unquestionably has the most fascinating past.

Because there were initially 13 members in the family, the family was historically known as Group 13.

It was previously headed by an alpha named Nyakarima, but he was overthrown in a bloody battle by a challenger with the name Agashya, which means “the news.”

Veteran gorilla watchers recall that before provoking Nykarima to fight, Agashya took the time to observe him and evaluate his strengths. Agashya oversaw the entire group after defeating the alpha.

In order to make it difficult for the previous alpha to find and pursue his new family, he also moved them to the higher slopes of the mountain.

In fact, he still employs this tactic anytime he observes another silverback nearby who might pose a threat to him.

Your knowledgeable tour guide will describe how Agashya combined the group by bringing in lone gorillas, increasing the family’s size from 13 to 20 members.

You might encounter 2 silverbacks, Agashya, 5 blackbacks, 5 females, 1 sub-adult male, 3 juveniles, and 3 newborns in addition to the sub-adult female and male.

It’s noteworthy to observe that while this tribe shares Volcanoes Park’s slopes with the Sabyinyo tribe, its silverback takes care to stay out of harm’s way.

Group Bwenge

Visitors are frequently interested to learn that several Bwenge group members were involved with gorillas in the Dian Fossey biopic Gorillas in the Mist.

The former lead alpha silverback Bwenge, whose name means “wisdom” in Kinyarwanda, gave rise to the cohort. When this dominant guy left his original family in 2007 to start his own, ladies from other groups gradually joined him.

This is how this group came to be. The family, which now numbers seven people, has gone through difficult times and lost six of its children.

Recently, trackers in Volcanoes Park observed that the troop had two infants. Sadly, Bwenge passed away in 2014, and Maggie, an adult woman, became the new leader.

You will probably walk along a trail that connects the Bisoke and Karisimbi mountains if this is the group that was allocated to you. You may need to climb up to 600 metres on the steep, muddy trail in order to reach the destination, which could take you about 3 hours.

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