IGISHA - SUSA B
26 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Igisha group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by Igisha. Igisha sometimes referred to as Susa B split from the original Susa A on November 30th 2014. Igisha silverback moved with 23 individuals and formed Susa B group that was later named Igisha after him. Igisha group is currently composed of 26 individuals which include 3 silverbacks, 7 adult females, 2 blackbacks, 3 sub-adult males, 4 juveniles and 7 infants..
15 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
The habituation of Bikingi gorilla group commenced in early 2012 as a follow-up exercise of the dispersing members of the disintegrated Mishaya family. Indeed, several members of the former Mishaya family were located in the group alongside other non-habituated members and later-on declared for habituation to keep close monitoring of the formerly habituated members. Bikingi family is found in Rushaga tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Unfortunately this family’s leadership is not yet confirmed because it’s still undergoing habituation. Bikingi family is composed of 15 individuals including; 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 2 sub-adults, 2 juveniles and 5 infants.
8 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Following a number of individual gorilla dispersals from Nkuringo family, a search for their whereabouts was launched in early 2012. It was discovered that one of the former Silverbacks of Nkuringo family, SB ‘Bahati’ who had dispersed earlier was leading a parallel family. Some of the members in this family were former members of the Nkuringo family among other non-habituated members. What started as a follow-up exercise later led to close monitoring of the behavior of the parallel family. The group was later habituated and named ‘Bushaho’ after the topo-name of the locality where the group forages most. Bushaho family is still headed by Bahati and is found in Nkuringo tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Bushaho family is composed of 8 individuals; 1 silverback, 1 blackback, 3 adult females, 1 sub-adult, 1 juvenile, and 1 infant.
20 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Kyaguliro A&B groups are solely dedicated for gorilla research purposes. They are found in Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The groups’ habituation began in 1995 following sudden death of the principal family head Rukina succumbed to an electric shock due to lightening on 7th April 2015. After Rukina’s demise, the family was left under the leadership of an inexperienced young Silverback (Mukiza) who was later ambushed by an immigrating Adult Silverback (Rukara) from the Bitukura family, this fueled a split of the family into two – (Kyaguliro A -Rukara and Kyaguliro B -Mukiza) in May 2016 . However this split is not yet assured since the two sub-families continue to forage within close vicinity pausing high potential for re-union or crossing back and forth by some family members. Generally, the entire family is known for spending almost all its time in the inner forest and very rarely gets close to the forest’s peripherals.
Apparently Rukara is composed of 10 individuals; 1 silverback, 2 blackbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants, while Mukiza is also made up of 10 individuals who include; 1 silverback, 4 adult females, 1 sub-adult and 4 infants.
26 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Bageni group is found in Bukima and Gatovu areas of the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC. Bageni group is headed by the Silverback Bangeni and is composed of 26 individuals including; 1 Silverback, 2 Blackbacks, 10 Aadult females, 1 Sub-adult female, 3 Juveniles, and 9 babies. Bageni group was formed in January 2013 after Bageni the silverback split from his father’s group (Kabirizi group). Bageni moved away with 20 individuals including his mother Mapendo and brothers and formed his own group called Bageni.
11 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Nyakamwe group is headed by the Silverback Nyakamwe and found in Bukima area of the Virunga National park in the DRC. Nyakamwe group was created in 2014 as a result of the split in Humba group. Nyakamwe Silverback had internal conflicts with his brother Humba and ended up leaving the group on 20/04/2014 with 10 individuals, leaving Humba group with only 5 individuals. Currently, Nyakamwe group consists of 11 individuals including 2 Silverbacks, 1 Blackback,3 Adult females,1 Sub – adult female, 2 juveniles and 2 babies.
13 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Bitukura family is found in Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. It is headed by Ndahura and is currently composed of 13 individuals; 4 silverbacks, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants. Habituation of Bitukura family started in 2006. The family is well known for multi-male tolerance in the group, sometimes with up to five adult males living in the same family at once. Bitukura family likes foraging around Ruhija tourism station of BINP and sometimes along the forest edges in the sector.
9 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Members of Busingye gorilla family were initially habituated as a whole in 2008 with Kahungye family, unfortunately the group broke away in March 2012 creating the Busingye family. This family was named after one of the adult males who led the splinter section to form a new family. Busingye family is fondly known for foraging within the inner forest and very rarely comes toward the park edge. It is found in Rushaga tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and is composed of 9 individuals; 1 silverback, 3 adult females, 1 juvenile and 4 infants. Busingye family is still headed by its founder Silverback Busingye.
12 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Bweza family members were initially habituated in the larger Shongi family until early 2013 when they detached themselves off the main Shongi family to form their own group under the leadership of Kakono. Found in Rushaga tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Bweza family likes to forage on local community land (where vegetation is more disturbed) than in the intact forest areas. This could be its way of freeing from the initial family. Bweza family is currently composed of 12 individuals including; 2 silverbacks, 4 blackbacks, 3 adult females, 1 sub-adult, and two infants.
19 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Around 1994, Zunguruka group led by the Silverback Zunguruka was habituated in Bukima area. Zunguruka later died of old age and left his son Ndungutse to lead the group, until 1997, when he (Ndugutse) was killed by bullets in a cross fire between DR Congo army and Rwandan rebels near the Bukima patrol post. After Ndungutse’s death, his son Buhanga took over the leadership of the group with 13 individuals.
Unfortunately, Buhanga faced resistance from his brother Karateka. Later, the two brothers Buhanga and Karateka fought, forcing Karateka to leave the group with 3 individuals. On 10/01/1998, Buhanga interacted with Karateka and grabbed back 3 individuals leaving Karateka a lone Silverback. On 06/02/1998, Buhanga had a violent interaction with Kabirizi (then alone Silverback too) that left him with serious wounds, which later claimed his life. Surprisingly Buhanga in his wounded condition was still able to protect and keep all his group members together. After his death, an adult female called Nsekuye took over the leadership of this wandering group. Her leadership did not last long since on 23/02/1998, she was overthrown by a lone silverback called Munyaga. On the other hand Kabirizi grabbed a few individuals from Luwawa group whose dominant Silverback Luwawa was killed in 1995. Later, Kabirizi interacted with Munyaga several times until he grabbed all his females to form a big group. On 27/01/2013, Kabirizi group split into two. Kabirizi remained with 16 individuals while his son Bageni took away 20 individuals.
Currently Kabirizi group is still headed by the Silverback Kabirizi and is composed of 19 individuals including; 2 Silverbacks, 1 Blackback, 4 adult females, 1 Sub- adult male, 3 Sub-adult females, 4 Juveniles and 4 infants. Kabirizi group is found in Bukima area of the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo- DRC.
This group of Grauer’s gorillas is open for visits by tourists in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DRC.
19 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Hirwa group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by Munyinya. Munyinya silverback came from the main Susa group in 2002 and somewhat disappeared for about 4 years, until June 17th 2006 when he showed up again with a couple of other individuals. The group was opened for tourism in July 2006 and named as Hirwa in the same year. Since his return, Munyinya increased the size of his group by grabbing individuals from surrounding groups such as Sabyinyo, Agashya and Kwitonda. Despite being the newest group on the block, Hirwa kept exhibiting its strength and maintained its status and respect from other gorilla groups in the area. Hirwa group is composed of 19 individuals including 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 1 blackback, 1 sub-adult female, 6 juveniles and 5 infants. This group is known to have the second ever surviving twins (Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato born to Kabatwa) after the main Susa group.
17 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Habituated since 1996, Habinyanja was once a large family with more than 25 members including several strong males. In February 2002 the group split into two families causing the creation of Rushegura family. Habinyanja is currently uniquely known for ranging further and colonizing new areas away from its originally known home range areas. Habinyanja family is composed of 17 individuals including; 1 silverback, 1 blackback, 5 adult females, 1 sub-adult, 3 juveniles and 6 infants. It is found in Buhoma tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and is headed by Makara.
10 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Humba group was created in 1998 following a split from Rugendo group. Humba a son to Rugendo, broke away from Rugendo group with 6 individuals leaving the father Rugendo with just 9 individuals. Interestingly the Silverback Nyakamwe decided to go with his brother Humba. By 2014,Humba group had increased to 16 individuals, unfortunately Humba and his brother Nyakamwe got into a fight leading to the split of the group. Humba stayed with only 6 individuals while his brother Nyakamwe walked away with 10 individuals. In February 2015 Humba interacted with Munyaga group and surprisingly the sub-adult female Kakule Munyaga left Munyaga group for Humba group. Today the group is composed of 10 individuals including; 3 Silverbacks, 2 Adult females, 1Sub-adultfemale, 2 juveniles, and 2 babies. The group is still headed by the Silverback Humba. Humba group is known for ranging between Gatovu and Bikenge areas of the Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
14 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Isimbi group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and led by the dominant Silver Back-Muturengere. Isimbi group is a result of Karisimbi group split which took place on 10th April 2012. Getty silverback took the lead of the new group of 7 individuals. Getty died on December 22nd 2013 due to abscess on air sac and pneumonia. After his death, the young blackback then, Muturengere took lead of the group with the help of Poppy, an adult female. Poppy is said to be the oldest living adult female among all gorilla groups. Muturengere fought other groups that sought to grab some members of his group. The group has since grown from 7 to 14 individuals who include 1 silverback, 6 adult females, 2 juveniles and 5 infants.
17 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Initially Kahungye family size was as large as 29 members with three adult males but due to intra-male rivalry, fission occurred in March 2012 creating the Busingye family. Today Kahungye family is composed of only 17 individuals that include; 3 silverbacks, 3 blackbacks, 3 adult females, 3 sub-adult, 3 juveniles and two infants. Kahungye family is found in Rushaga tourism area of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and is headed by Rumanzi. The habituation of this group started in 2008.
11 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Karisimbi group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and led by Nyagakangaga. This group was formed after the split of the main Susa group on June 28th 2009. On this day Nyagakangaga who was among several subordinate silverbacks took 13 individuals and moved away to form his own group referred as Susa B then. It was later named Karisimbi in 2010 at the gorilla naming ceremony – Kwita Izina. The group was named Karisimbi because; it ranges from within and around Karisimbi Mountain in Volcanoes National Park. Unfortunately/fortunately, another faction broke away from Karisimbi on April 10th 2012 to form another group called Isimbi. Today, Karisimbi group is composed of 11 individuals including 4 silverbacks, 1 adult female, 1 blackback, 1 sub-adult male, 1 sub-adult female, 1 juvenile and 2 infants.
29 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Kwitonda group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by Akarevuro. Originally formed in 1995 in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kwitonda group migrated to Rwanda in 2003 to escape pressure from other groups. Kwitonda Silverback is thought to have been a solitary male before joining Rugabo group in the DRC. After the death of Rugabo Silverback, Kwitonda grabbed some individuals of the group to form his own group. After this, he moved to Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda and established its home range between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga. Unfortunately, Kwitonda died in 2012 due to old age and left Akarevuro and Kigoma both subordinate silverbacks fighting for leadership of the group. Somehow Akarevuro won the respect of the group members and took full leadership of group. Kwitonda group is made of 29 individuals including 2 silverbacks, 10 adult females, 2 blackbacks, 1 sub-adult male, 7 juveniles and 7 infants.
9 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Lulengo group is found in Jomba area of the Virunga National park in DRC. Initially known as Rugabo, the group’s habituation started in 1985 with the Silverback Rugabo as the group head. Unfortunately Rugabo and 2 other females were brutally shot dead in 1994 in Jomba. Related to this incident, the juvenile Mvuyekure (current Silverback in Mapuwa family) was carried away by poachers with the aim of selling him off in Uganda; fortunately Mvuyekure was rescued and the poachers were arrested and imprisoned.
So following the death of Rugabo, his son Lulengo took over leadership of the group which was composed of 12 individuals at the time. A couple of interactions that saw to the transfer of some individuals from Lulengo to other groups was witnessed, for instance; in 1998 Lulengo interacted with Mapuwa group and a good number of his members crossed to Mapuwa while in 2014 another interaction was noted between Lulengo and Rugendo – this saw to the transfer of the juvénile Lulengo from Lulengo group to Rugendo group. Currently Lulengo group is led by the Silverback Lulengo and composed of 9 individuals including;1Silverback, 3 Adult females, 1 Sub-adult male, 1 juvenile and 3 babies.
22 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
This group is found in Jomba area of the Virunga National Park in the DRC. Mapuwa group was formed in 1998 by Mapuwa Silverback. Mapuwa is a son to the Silverback Rugendo and evolved in Rugendo group. In August 1995, Mapuwa left Rugendo group at the same time as his brother Ruzirabwoba for solitary life. On 01/08/98, Mapuwa interacted with Lulengo group and grabbed 2 females (Kagofero and Kanepo) to form his own group – Mapuwa. Mapuwa group is currently composed of 22 individuals including; 3 Silverbacks, 3 Blackbacks, 6 Adult females, 2 Sub-adult females, 4 Juveniles and 5 babies. Mapuwa group is currently headed by the Silverback Mapuwa
11 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Mubare group headed by Kanyonyi is the oldest habituated gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park since 1991. It is uniquely known for Single male leadership and pure intolerance to multi-male leadership by its leader(s). The group’s historical leader (Ruhondeza) was well known for practicing ‘infanticide’ to eliminate younger males and at the time of Ruhondeza’s demise (26th June 2012) only one lucky male (Kanyonyi) had managed to survive his father’s wrath thus taking over leadership immediately.Mubare group is composed of eleven (11) individuals including; 1 silverback, 6 adult females, 3 infants and 1 sub-adult and is found in Buhoma tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
Photo used with permission: Copyright Linda Holcombe.
9 Members | Updated: 23 November 2016
Munyaga group is found in Bukima area of the Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Silverback Munyaga was a lone wild Silveback before 1998. In February 1998, Munyaga met Buhanga group then headed by the adult female Nsekuye and took advantage of the absence of a dominant Silverback in the group and made himself the group leader. Later the group interacted several times with Kabirizi group until Munyaga lost all his females to Kabirizi group. After that, Munyaga disappeared for two years (2007-2008). Following his disappearance, Mawazo took over leadership of the group until today. Currently the group is made up of 9 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 2 Adult females, 2 Juveniles, and 2 babies.
12 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Composed of 12 individuals ; 2 silverbacks, 1 blackback, 2 adult females, 2 sub-adults, 3 juveniles and two infants, Nkuringo family is found in Nkuringo tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Nkuringo family was the first gorilla group to be habituated in the entire southern sector of BINP in 1997. Initially, the group had 17 but with time a number of members kept dispersing up to the current size of 12 members. Nkuringo family is also the first gorilla group to record the birth of gorilla ‘twins’ in BINP in December 2004. The group is famously known for foraging outside the park for up to 98% of their time. This practice led to the displacement of the former local human settlers in the frontline villages in Nkuringo sector to create a buffer zone to minimize human-wildlife interface. This displacement followed an outbreak of Scabies in the Nkuringo family in December 2000. Nkuringo family is headed by Rafiki.
7 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Like Bitukura family, Shongi‘s habituation started in 2006. Initially, this family’s size was as large as 32 members with multi-males but with time intra-male rivalry has caused dispersals of individual members as well as fission. In early 2013, two sections of family members split off the main Shongi group to form the Mishaya family in June 2010 and later again to the current ‘Bweza’ family. Unfortunately, Mishaya Silverback (who had solely led the first splinter section as an adult male died of an obstruction of the intestinal gut on 3rd February, 2014). This resulted into dispersal of the remnant family members as they had NO other adult male to take lead. Some of the members ended up joining Bweza family while others joined Bikingi family. Today Shongi group is composed of 7 individuals; 1 silverback, 3 adult females, 1 sub-adult, 1 juvenile and 1 infant. Shongi family is headed by Bweza and found in Rushaga tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
10 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Nyakagezi family is found in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Apparently Nyakagezi family is the only habituated gorilla in Mgahinga gorilla national park. It is headed by Mark and composed of 10 individuals; 5 silverbacks, 2 adult females, 2 juveniles, and 1 infant. The habituation of Nyakagezi family started in 1991 and the group was later opened for tourism in 1994. The gorilla family is fondly known for its trans-boundary nature which makes it freely roam across the three countries (Uganda, Rwanda & DRC) of the Virunga massif at will. Like Bitukura gorilla family in BINP, Nyakagezi is fondly known for multi-male tolerance.
17 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
Oruzogo family is found in Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and is headed by Bakwate. Oruzugo family is fondly known for foraging and feeding on vegetation dominated by ‘Alchornea hitela’ plant (locally known as Oruzogo) upon which the group’s family name also originates. Oruzogo whose habituation started in 2008 is composed of 17 individuals including; 2 silverbacks, 2 black backs, 5 adult females, 2 sub-adults, 1 juvenile and 5 infants.
Rugendo is among the first groups to be habituated alongside Rugabo and Zunguruka in 1985. At its formation, the group was led by the Silverback Rugendo which was unfortunately killed by rebels in 2001 in Bukima area. Rugendo is known to be the father to many Silverbacks in Virunga National Park, namely; Mapuwa, Humba, Ruzirabwoba, Mukunda, Nyakamwe; Mburanumwe; Baseka; Kongomani; Lubutu and Bahati. After his death, his son Senkwekwe took over leadership of the group until 2007 when he was murdered with 5other gorillas of his group by unkown people.
The group remained without leadership for a couple of months until 2008 when the solitary Silverback Bukima took over it’s leadership. Bukima was initially a member of Buhanga group and spent some time in Munyaga group before becoming a solitary Silverback in 2005. Rugendo group is currently headed by the Silverback Rugendo and composed of 9 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 1 Blackback,1 Adult female, 2 Sub- adult females and 2 babies. Rugendo group is fond of moving around the Mikeno sector between Bukima and Bikenge areas of the Virunga National Park in the DRC.
16 Members | Updated: 4 August 2016
The family was created in February 2002 following the split of the former larger Habinyanja family. The group was named after a tree species ‘Ebishegura’ found in the area where the split occurred. Rushegura family is fondly known for foraging closer to Bwindi Impenetrable national Park’s headquarters (Buhoma) and for visiting local community gardens around its home range areas. It is composed of 16 individuals who include; 1 silverback, 4 blackbacks, 4 adult females, 3 juveniles, 4 infants and is headed by Kabukojo. Rushegura family is found in Buhoma tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
16 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Sabyinyo group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by Guhonda. At its habituation the group was named Amavubi (wasps) due to their aggressive character which gave hard time to the habituation field teams. The name was later changed to Sabyinyo, after the mountain where the group was first seen. After the death of the silverback Murthi of Group 13, Guhonda alone silverback took advantage of Murthi’s death and grabbed 3 females from Group 13 (Gukunda, Kampanga and Ijisho) and a number of others from Group 11. These are the individuals that Guhonda used to form his group with. Sabyinyo group currently consists of 16 individuals including 2 silverback, 6 adult females, 2 blackbacks, 1 juveniles and 5 infants.
KURIRA - SUSA A
17 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Kurira group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by Kurira. It is also referred to as the original Susa. Susa is an old and famous group in Volcanoes National Park formed in 1974 with initially 7 individuals. Before splitting up in 2009, it was the biggest ever recorded group counting 41 members. Susa A split into 2 other groups (Karisimbi and Igisha or Susa B). Karisimbi later split into another faction of Isimbi group. After the split, the original Susa group remained with 16 individuals. Today Kurira group is composed of 17 individuals including 3 silverbacks, 5 adult females, 3 blackbacks, 1 sub-adult male, 2 juveniles and 3 infants.
Susa A is known to have the first set of surviving twins in the history of mountain gorillas in 2004 (Impano and Byishimo) and later in 2011 (Impeta and Umudende, although Umudende passed on in 2015). The group is also known to have been a victim of a poaching incident in May 2002 where 2 adult females were killed trying to protect 2 babies from poachers who wanted to steal and sell them on the illegal market
12 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Umubano group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Umubano which was formerly part of Amahoro group is still led by Charles, the dominant Silverback. Umubano separated from Amahoro A (led by Ubumwe) without aggression.. Shortly after the separation, the 2 groups would meet, interact, and feed together for one or two days and then go separate ways. Umubano group is composed of 12 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 2 Adult females, 3 blackbacks, 3 Juveniles and 1 infant.
20 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Agashya group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Originally known as Group 13 and headed by the dominant silverback Murthi who died in 1992 leaving behind 3 young males (Munane, Nyakarima and Kwirinda) faced with the challenge of leading the group. The 3 males stayed together until Munane turned into a silverback and led the group. Kwirinda died from injuries sustained through a fight with another group, while Nyakarima left the group. In his quest to expand the group, Munane interacted with other groups and acquired females. He unfortunately died on May 18th 2002 due to natural causes leaving behind a blackback to lead the group. Due to his young age, the blackback associated with the adult female Safari who helped him in managing the group. However, a Silverback (Agashya) from an unknown group then came and took over leadership from the young blackback. The group was later named Agashya in 2010 at Kwita Izina ceremony. Currently, Agashya group is composed of 20 individuals; including 2 silverbacks, 5 adult females, 5 blackbacks, 1 sub-adult male, 1 sub-adult female, 3 juveniles and 3 infants.
18 Members | Updated: 13 July 2016
Amahoro group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and led by Ubumwe. The habituation of Amahoro group started in March 1996 and stopped in 1997 due to the war. The group was opened for tourism in 2000. On May 4th 2002, the dominant Silverback Amahoro died at about 31 years of age. After his death, the two subordinate silverbacks Ubumwe and Charles could not agree on who would step in Amahoro’s leadership. Therefore, the group split into two; the main Amahoro led by Ubumwe and another led by Charles. Charles’s group was later called Amahoror B then Umubano. Today Amahoro group is made up of 18 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 4 Adult females, 3 Sub-adults females, 1 Blackback, 2 Juveniles and 5 Infants.