Gorilla families in the Volcanoes national park : The Volcanoes national park is one of the four only homes of the mountain gorillas in the world. The mountain gorillas are an endangered animal species according to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as there are about 1,063 mountain gorillas left in the world. The other mountain gorilla homes are Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda and the Virunga national park of the Democratic republic of Congo.
This article highlights the gorilla families of the Volcanoes national park but please note these are the habituated gorilla families that guests can visit however, there are more gorilla families in this park that have not yet been habituated. Gorillas are very close to humans and also have a setting of family just like in the humans with the silverback gorilla leading the rest of the gorillas in the group and protecting them until he is overthrown by another strong silverback gorilla.
- Agashya Gorilla family
The Agashya gorilla group is one of the families and this gorilla family is led by a one silverback called Agashya who the gorilla family is named after. This gorilla family started with about 13 family members but currently there are about 27 gorillas in the Agashya family. This change and growth has been analyzed in the past 8 years and can be attributed to the conservation efforts in the park.
- Sabyinyo Gorilla family
The Sabyinyo gorilla family is the closest family that guests who prefer the easy way out can be assigned. The Sabyinyo group lives in the nearby forest area on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo thus the name of the family. The farthest this family goes is the bamboo zone and this area is great for photos. There are 12 gorillas in this family and are all led by the dominant silverback Guhonda.
- Titus gorilla family
The Titus gorilla family was once habituated by the famous primatologist Dian Fossey who related to the gorilla family. The Titus gorilla family had 8 members at the time and this is the family which Digit, the closest gorilla to Dian Fossey, lived in. This group is commonly found on the slopes of the Karisimbi and Bisoke volcano where the Dian Fossey research center was set up and still is.
This family also featured in the documentary movie, the Gorillas in the Mist and was the main character known as the Gorilla King.
- Amahoro gorilla family
Amahoro gorilla family is one amusing family and the word amahoro in Kinyarwanda implies a fascinating or peaceful something. The family started with 18 gorillas, 2 black backs, 5 baby gorillas, 2 juveniles, four adult females also mothers and 2 silverback gorillas.
The group leader was Ubumwe and for him it was a taboo to look him in the eyes as he would feel threatened and he was authoritative about his leadership and gives no room for another challenger.
- Susa A gorilla family
The Susa A gorilla family has 42 members however 9 of the members split to the Susa B group also known as the Karisimbi group. This gorilla family is one of the families that have borne twins. The group was once the biggest group in the Volcanoes national park.
- Umubano group
This gorilla family has about 13 gorillas in their family and these are one silverback gorilla, one black back gorilla, six young ones and three adult females. This group was started by Charles a dominant silverback gorilla. They broke off from the Amahoro group after a number of conflicts. This group chose harmony and that is why it is called Umubano meaning harmony.
- Susa B/ Karisimbi gorilla group
The Susa B also known as the Karisimbi group started in 2008 when they split from the Susa A group and they started with a population of 9 members. The group is currently at 15 gorillas and this is because of the multiple births welcomed in the group. This is the farthest group and ideal for guests looking to spend more time on the trek.
You will hike up to some of the higher ranges of the Mount Karisimbi which is the highest in Rwanda in search of this family. Enjoy the breathtaking view from the top.
- Hirwa gorilla family
The Hirwa word in Kinyarwanda means luck and this group was named the lucky one after one of the females birthed twins and is among the seven groups that have had twins in the whole Virunga region inclusive of the Virunga national park and the Mgahinga gorilla national park.
This group’s members tend to stay close to each other and it is possible to spot all the 16 family members on a visit. They are often found on the slopes of the mount Sabyinyo, another of the Virunga volcanoes.
- Kwitonda gorilla family
The Kwitonda gorilla family has 23 gorilla members and is led by the male silverback called the Akarevuro. This group is a unique one as it has 3 silverback gorillas and the other two are Magumu and Kigoma.
This was previously a family of the Virunga national park before 2003 when it settled on the slopes of the Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo.
- Bwenge group
The Bwenge gorilla family currently has 11 members and these family members prefer to stay on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. The Bwenge group previously recorded 20 births but also recorded 6 infants’ gorilla deaths who were victims of the crossfires in the region.
- Ugenda group
The Ugenda gorilla group is the eleventh gorilla group of the Volcanoes national park and on a visit to this group, it is quite hard to tell them apart as they all look closely alike. There are 27 members in this family but lucky for you, the ranger guides are able to tell them apart and share their story. There are 2 silverbacks in this gorilla family.