Mountain Gorilla families in Virunga national park
Mountain gorilla families in Virunga national park: Virunga national park is one of the great habitants to the endangered mountain gorillas in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site, this incredible mountain gorilla trekking destination is located in the eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo adjacent to the Congo-Uganda border. Virunga national park is the most biologically diverse protected area on the continent of Africa covering an area of 7800 square kilometers.
Virunga national park is a home to 8 habituated mountain gorilla group which live on the high altitudes of the mountains in the park, these mountain gorillas where taken under habituation experience so as to make them comfortable with human presence as a way of preparing them for mountain gorilla trekking. Mountain gorilla groups in Virunga national park include
Kabirizi Gorilla group
Kabirizi gorilla group in Virunga national park is found in the Bukima section of the park near Goma, this group comprises of 19 group members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Kabirizi who is also powerful and humble. Kabirizi gorilla group was formerly known as Ndungutse gorilla group a name it got from its then leader dominant silverback Ndungutse, the name was changed following the assignation of silverback Ndungutse in a crossfire between the DRCongo army and rebel group groups in the Bukima patrol post in 1997. The current name of the group Kabirizi was in honor of the ICCN Director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s, dominant silverback Kabirizi is currently facing stiff competition from a young and competitive silverback Masibo.
Humba Gorilla Group
Humba gorilla group Virunga national park is found in Bukima section of the park, this group is composed of 10 group members under the leadership of dominant silverback Humba from whom the group gets its name. Silverback Humba separated from his father’s group Rugendo in 1996 and went with 6 individuals to form his own group, silverback Humba is also a brother to Silverback Senkwenkwe who was killed on 22nd July 2007 by unidentified gunmen. Many tourists visiting on a mountain gorilla trekking experience in Virunga national park love trekking this group as it is easily accessed.
Rugendo Gorilla Group
Rugendo gorilla group in Virunga national park is one of the oldest habituated mountain gorilla groups in this park comprising of 9 members under the leadership of silverback Bukima, this group is found in Bukima and it gets its name from Silverback Rugendo the former leader of the group. Rugendo gorilla group has gone through numerous changes, this group initially consisted of 18 members and when Silverback Rugendo had a fight with his son Humba. Humba split from the group with 10 members leaving the group with 8 members, the group grabbed a sub-adult member from Mapuwa group to make a total of 9 members.
Mapuwa Gorilla Group
Mapuwa gorilla group in Virunga national park is found in Jomba section near Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border), this group is composed of 22 group members and it is under the leadership of silverback Mvuyekure who took leadership over silverback Mapuwa. Mapuwa gorilla group gets its name from silverback Mapuwa who split from his father silverback Rugendo with 2 females Mafaze and Jicho to form his own group in the names of Mapuwa gorilla group. Silverback Mapuwa was so dedicated to protecting his family and throughout his leadership he acquired new group members. At a certain point silverback Mapuwa had a face-off with Pilipili one of the strongest silverbacks in the forests of Virunga national park.
Lulengo Gorilla Group
Lulengo gorilla group in Virunga national park is found in the Jomba area near Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border), Lulengo gorilla group is formerly known as Musekura group and its named was changed to Lulengo after silverback Lulengo and in memory of the Technical Director of Virunga national park who lost his life to a landmine. Lulengo gorilla group comprises of 9 members under the leadership of silverback Lulengo, silverback Lulengo took over from his father Rugabo who lost his life to an attack by poachers at times of Great lakes Refugee crisis
Munyaga Gorilla Group
Munyaga gorilla group in Virunga national park is found in Bukima sector of the park and composed of 7 members under the leadership of silverback Gasore, Munyaga gorilla group gets its name from Silverback Munyaga its former leader who was succeeded by silverback Mawazo then silverback Gasore who is the current leader of the group. Munyaga gorilla group is loved by trekkers on a mountain gorilla trekking safari in Virunga national park because of female gorilla Bilali with her set of twins and Kadogo a bald headed silverback. Munyaga gorilla group comprises of 7 group members and currently the group’s leader Gasore is facing challenges from other silverbacks in the group.
Nyakamwe Gorilla Group
Nyakamwe gorilla group in Virunga national park is one of the newly habituated gorilla families in the park found and is one of the largest mountain gorilla group in Virunga national park, this group is composed of 11 group members under the leadership of silverback Nyakamwe. Nyakamwe gorilla group was formed in 2014 after the split of Nyakamwe from the Humba group, silverback Nyakamwe and Humba had conflicts which led to a split. Nyakamwe gorilla group is found in Bukima area of the park and comprises of 2 juveniles and baby gorillas.
Bageni Gorilla Group
Bageni gorilla group in Virunga national park is the largest mountain gorilla group comprising of 26 group members found in both Gatovu and Bukima sections, this group comprises of 26 members under the leadership of silverback Bageni. Silverback Bageni split from Kabirizi group, Bageni gorilla group comprises of 2 other silverbacks that are Silverback Kanamaharagi and Kitagenda. Because of these silverbacks power conflicts have come up in the group.
These mountain gorilla groups are visited on a mountain gorilla trekking safari, each group is visited by a group of 8 individuals per day and you are allowed to stay in their presence for one hour. To do Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga national park you need a mountain gorilla trekking permit costing US$4OO.