Eastern Lowland Gorilla Families in Kauzi Biega National Park
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Families in Kauzi Biega National Park: Kahuzi Biega national park is one the biggest protected areas in Democratic Republic of Congo located in eastern region in South Kivu province, the park lies west of Bukavu town, near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. Kahuzi Biega National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site covering an area of 6,000 square kilometers which consists of mountainous and lowland terrain, various regions of Kahuzi Biega National Park are dominated by different physical features and terrain.
- a small region of the park stretches through Mitumba Mountain range of the Albertine rift in The great rift valley
- a corridor of 7.4 kilometers width, this corridor joins mountainous and lowland terrain
- the eastern part of the park is of 600 square kilometers and it is dominated by mountainous terrain
- the rest of the park is mainly dominated by lowland terrain and it is drained by Luka and Lungulu rivers which flow into Lualaba river
Kahuzi Biega National Park national park is named after two dormant volcanoes that are Kahuzi standing at a height of 3,308 meters and Biega standing at a height of 2,790 meters.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is a home to a variety of wildlife species and among those species are eastern lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are one of the four gorilla sub species and according the 2004research and study report there is approximately 5,000 eastern lowland gorilla individuals in the world. Eastern lowland gorillas are largest of the 4 gorilla subspecies and the largest living primates with a male eastern lowland gorilla standing at 1.85 meters as maximum height and females reaching 1.6 meters. A male eastern lowland gorilla weighs about 210 kilograms and females weigh about 100 kilograms.
Like other gorillas, Eastern lowland gorillas are highly social primates peacefully living in groups consisting of 2- 30 and plus individuals, each of these groups are headed by a dominant silverback and made up of several females and their off springs the infants. Silverbacks in these are the alpha males of the groups and since they are the strongest of all gorillas in the group, they tasked with protecting their groups from danger.
So as to prevent competition and disputes over leadership of the groups, young silverbacks are supposed to leave their natal group to form their own groups when they reach maturity to form their own groups. In reproduction a female eastern lowland gorilla gives birth to 1 infant per birth after a gestation period of 8 and a half months, birth of twins in these gorillas is a rare occurrence and it is highly celebrated in the groups.
Kahuzi Biega national park is a home to about 9 families of eastern lowland gorillas but only 5 of these families have underwent through gorilla habituation process, gorilla habituation process is a process through which mountain gorillas are trained so that they get used to human presence. These 5 families are the only families trekked in Kahuzi Biega and they include
Mpungwe gorilla family
Mpungwe gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is the largest lowland gorilla family of all habituated families in the park and Democratic republic of Congo, this family is one of the loved families by trekkers who are interested in sighting lowland gorillas in large numbers. Mpungwe gorilla family consists of 21 family members.
Chimanuka gorilla family
Chimanuka gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is the second largest lowland gorilla family in the park and Democratic republic of Congo, from testimonies of treks this family is the most interesting lowland gorilla family to trek and this is slightly attributed to its charming members. Chimanuka gorilla family consists of 19 family members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Chimanuka, the gorilla family gets its name from dominant silverback Chimanuka.
Bonnani gorilla family
Bonnani gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is the smallest lowland gorilla family in the park and Democratic Republic of Congo, this lowland gorilla family consists of 5 family members and it is one of the newly habituated gorilla families in the park.
Mugahuka gorilla family
Mugahuka gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is a 1 member family with only 1 silverback Mugahuka a dominant silverback from the family is named after, Mugahuka gorilla family had other family members but disputes between Mugahuka and Chimanuka gorilla family resulted into losing its family members. The dispute was won Chimanuka family thus losing all the females and infants leaving Mugahuka the dominant silverback alone in the group.
Mugahuka gorilla family is one of the closest gorilla families to find in Kahuzi Biega national park and it is recommended for old and less energetic trekkers.
Nganwa gorilla family
Nganwa gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is still undergoing habituation process and it is not yet open for gorilla trekking, this gorilla family consists of 10 family members.
How to get to Kahuzi Biega national park and see the Eastern Lowland Gorilla Families
Kahuzi Biega National Park is situated in Eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo in Bukavu, the park is situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and in a distance of 30 kilometers from Bukavu town taking approximately 1 and half hours’ of drive. Kahuzi Biega National Park is a very accessible national park reached by both road and air means of transport, by road there is well maintained routes which facilitate movement of vehicles to the park. By air transport chartered flights are offered landing to both Kavuma airport and another in Miti, from these airport you use vehicle to get to the park.