Gorilla Families in Virunga National Park-Gorilla Trekking Groups
In Virunga national Park that was re opened to travelers to enjoy the most memorable Safari activity of Gorilla Trekking in the various sectors of the park. Virunga National Park & ICCN plus other volunteering agencies have worked tiresomely to conserve the mountain gorillas in the wild of virunga national park to allow tourists to visit the primates in the park.
Gorilla trekking in congo is the most Popular safari activity that is preferred by tourists around the world and has contributed to the country’s economic development. Mountain gorillas are only found in four National parks in Africa ie Virunga national park, Bwindi forest national park, Mgahinga national park & Volcanoes national park, Gorilla trekking is the most loved Safari Activity in Congo.
These primates inhabit the thick forest vegetation around the park and feed on fruits,leaves due to the fact that they are vegetarians with families that include a silver back who acts as the leader followed by an adult female,then by the young gorillas who are followed by the juveniles which are so playful and are always in the trees.
Detailed Gorilla Families for Trekking.
The Park of Virunga national park is having 10 gorilla families but only 6 gorilla families open for viewing by tourists and these include the Kabirizi, Humba,Rugendo,Lulengo,Mapuwa, Manyaga families which are open annually for gorilla trekking.
Lulengo Gorilla Family
The group has 6 gorillas and 1 silver back. It is led by Lulengo himself and is found in Jomba near Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border). Lulengo was born into the Rugabo Family which was the first mountain gorilla family in the Mikeno Sector to be habituated. Formerly the group was called ‘Musekura’ but the Rangers changed his name to Lulengo in the memory of the Technical Director of Virunga National Park who was killed by a land mine. His father Rugabo also died violently when he was shot by poachers during the Great Lakes Refugee Crisis in 1994. After his death, the family was left in the hands of his sons Lulengo (Blackback), Pili-Pili, Mareru and Nvuyekure (Juvenile).
Mapuwa Gorilla Family
This group is composed of 15 individuals of gorillas with 1 silverback and is found in Jomba near Bunagana which is the Congo-Uganda border. The group is led by a silverback named Mapuwa and has acquired and protected his family by all means even in violent struggle. He was a son of Rugendo and left his father’s camp in 1998 and started his own family. When he left, he took along 2 adult females named Jicho and Mafaze. Consecutive births have occurred until now that the family has 15 individuals.
Kabirizi Gorilla Family
This family is composed of 34 Gorillas including 2 Silverbacks. The group is found in Bukima sector which is close to Goma and the group is led by Kabirizi Silver back. The group derived its name from an ICCN Director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s. Previously, the silver back Kabirizi was not a habituated gorilla family and instead a wild gorilla. Later in 1998, he was named the head of his family after habituation. Formerly, this group was known as Ndungutse family because by then it was led by Ndungutse Silverback who was assassinated in 1997 after being caught in crossfire between the DR Congo army and Rwandan rebels near the Bukima patrol post.
Humba Gorilla Family
The group is led by Humba silver back and is also found in Bukima sector of the Park close to Goma. It is composed of 16 Gorillas including 2 Silver backs. This is so far the calmest habituated Gorilla group and many tourists and ranger like to track it. Humba is a brother to Senkwekwe Silver back who was executed on 22nd July 2007 by unidentified gun men. Humba split from Rugendo (His father) in 1998 and since he has been a Silver back till now.
Munyaga Gorilla Family
The group is located in Bukima close to Goma and has 7 gorillas with 2 silverbacks. It was the last Gorilla group to be found by rangers in 2008. The family was led by Munyaga by then the Silverback and the dominant adult female is named Bilali. She was from the Rugendo group in 2004 and after she joined, she had two babies but they both died in infancy. At the same time, Munyaga also disappeared and as of now, the group is under Silverback Mawazo.
Rugendo Gorilla Family
The group has six individuals of gorillas including three Silverbacks. It is led by Rugendo the father of Humba. It was habituated in 1989 and by 1997 the group had 18 individuals with two Silverbacks (Rugendo and his son Humba). When Humba split from his father in 1998, only 8 Individuals stayed with Rugendo and in the next few years, there was increase in the number of the Gorillas in this group because of the consecutive births that followed.
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