What gorilla families can be observed in Uganda?

What gorilla families can be observed in Uganda?

What gorilla families can be observed in Uganda?  you opt for a gorilla adventure holiday in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can encounter five gorilla families: Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Katwe, and Binyido. 

Rushegura Gorilla Family

The Rushegura family was named after the location where two silverback brothers parted ways. The group’s alpha is Mwirima, who is in his 20s.

The family split from the Habinyanja group in 2002, growing to 19 members by 2010. They frequently cross into Congo but always return. Known for their calm demeanor, the Rushegura family is not shy and welcomes visitors to observe their daily activities. They are considered the calmest family in Bwindi and sometimes wander into nearby villages.

Habinyanja Gorilla Family

The Habinyanja family was one of the first to inhabit the Buhoma sector, settling there in 1997 and opening to tourists in 1999. The name “Habinyanja” derives from the local word ‘Nyanja,’ meaning “a place with water,” as they were first spotted near a swamp. Initially led by the silverback Mugurisi, the family saw a leadership change after his death from old age.

Power was briefly shared by Mwirima and Rwansigazi, but their differing preferences—Mwirima preferring to stay close to home and Rwansigazi wanting to travel—led to a split in 2002. Makara, the current dominant silverback, took over leadership. In 2011, Mizano, a friendly blackback, was found dead, suspected to have been killed by poachers while protecting his family. The Habinyanja family currently consists of 18 gorillas.

Mubare & Katwe Gorilla Families

Mubare Family: The Mubare family is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda. Initially, it had 18 members but now has only 5. They were habituated in 1991 and started receiving tourists two years later. The family is named after the Mubare hills.

Katwe Family: The Katwe family is the newest addition to the Buhoma sector. It consists of 1 silverback, 2 blackbacks, 4 adult females, and 2 infants.

Mishaya & Bikyingi Gorilla Families

Mishaya Family: Originally part of the Nshongi group, the Mishaya family was formed when the leader, Mishaya, broke away, taking six members with him. Known for his combative nature, Mishaya frequently attempts to gather females from other groups. Despite this, the family has been habituated to human presence, so there’s no need to fear an attack.

Bikyingi Family: The Bikyingi family formed when members from Mishaya joined with wild gorillas. Named after the friendly silverback Bikyingi, the group now consists of 21 gorillas.

Kahugye, Busingye & Rwigi Gorilla Families

Kahugye Family: Named after a hill where the group of 13 gorillas was first spotted, the Kahugye family was opened for trekking in 2011. They are led by the silverback Gwigi.

Busingye Family: The Busingye group split from Kahugye in 2012 and is named after its silverback. This group includes 3 infants, 5 blackbacks, and 1 silverback. Rangers initially thought they might reunite with the Kahugye group, but there have been no signs of this yet.

Rwigi Family: The Rwigi family was formed when the silverback Rwigi, unable to get along with other silverbacks in the Kahugye group, decided to create his own family. This group consists of 6 gorillas.

Nshongi, Bweza & Mucunguzi Gorilla Families

Nshongi Family: Named after the River Nshongi, this group was once led by a silverback who shared the river’s name. It is the largest habituated gorilla group. Originally comprising 36 members, it now has 26 due to a family split that led to the formation of the Mishaya group. They were opened to trekking in 2009.

Bweza Family: The Bweza family was formed when the silverback Bweza broke away from the Nshongi group with 10 members following numerous fights. They were opened to trekking in 2012.

Mucunguzi Family: Formed after a split from the Bweza family due to a severe fight, the Mucunguzi family is predominantly female and named after its silverback. This group consists of 8 gorillas.

Bitukura & Oruzogo Gorilla Families

Bitukura Family: The Bitukura group, named after the river where they were first sighted, came under habituation in 2007 and opened to tourists in 2008, completing the process in a record 15 months. After the original leader’s death at age 40, the youngest silverback, Ndahura, took over. The group consists of 14 gorillas and shares a close bond with the Kyaguriro family. They are known for being playful and peaceful.

Oruzogo Family: Led by the silverback Tibirikwata, the Oruzogo family is a large group of 22 gorillas. In 2012, a female named Kakobe gave birth to twins. This family is the second habituated group in the Ruhija sector and is recognized for their playful and energetic behavior.

Kyaguriro & Mukiza Gorilla Families

Kyaguriro Family: First habituated in 1995, the Kyaguriro group consists of 15 gorillas. They experienced a significant challenge when their leader, Rukina, was struck by lightning. A silverback named Mukiza then took over leadership until he was challenged by a silverback from the Bitukura family. The Kyaguriro group is primarily studied for research and is not open to tourists.

Mukiza Family: The Mukiza family was formed when the silverback Mukiza broke away from the Kyaguriro group, taking 9 gorillas with him to establish his own family.

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