Gorilla Family



Rugendo group is found in Mikeno sector between Bukima and Bikenge areas of Virunga National Park in DRC and is led by the dominant Silverback Bukima. 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 who was unfortunately killed by rebels in 2001 in Bukima area. Rugendo is known to be the father to many Silverbacks in Virunga National Park including 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 5 other gorillas of his group by unknown people. The group remained without leadership for a couple of months until 2008 when the solitary Silverback Bukima assumed 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 composed of 13 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 4 Adult females, 2 Sub- adults, 1 Juvenile and 3 Infants.

  • 3


  • 4

    Adult females

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  • 2

    Sub-adult females

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  • 3


About mountain gorillas

The eastern gorilla is a large hominid with a large head, broad chest, and long arms. It has a flat nose with large nostrils. The face, hands, feet and breast are bald. The fur is mainly black, but adult males have a silvery “saddle” on their back. When the gorilla gets older, the hair on the saddle of the back becomes white, much like the gray hair of elderly people. This is why the older males are called silverbacks. Grauer’s gorilla has a shorter, thicker, deep black fur, while the mountain gorilla has a more bluish color. The mountain gorilla is slightly smaller and lighter than Grauer’s gorilla, but still larger and heavier than the western lowland gorilla and the Cross River gorilla. Males are much larger than females. A full-grown male eastern gorilla typically weighs 140–205.5 kg (309–453 lb) and stands 1.7 m (5.6 ft) upright.

The goal of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is to ensure the conservation of mountain gorillas and their regional afromontane forest habitat in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park

Located in the Albertine Rift Valley in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga National Park is Africa’s most biodiverse protected area that protects 1/3 of the wild mountain gorillas, over one thousand species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.