Two new groups (Kwisanga and Ikaze) have been added onto the list of visited gorilla groups in the Volcanoes National Park, bringing the number of groups to 13. Kwisanga was formed on 4th May 2021 when silverback Kigoma left Kwitonda group with 16 members. Kwisanga is comprised of 17 members including 2 Silverbacks, 3 Adult Females, 2 Blackbacks, 2 Sub-adult males, 3 Juveniles and 5 Infants. Ikaze group on the other hand, was formed on 7th November 2021 when three females left Isimbi and Susa groups to join the then lone silverback, Noheli. One of the females joined with an infant and shortly after the group was formed, another adult female had a baby. Today Ikaze group is composed of 6 individuals including 1 Silverback, 3 Adult females and 2 Infants.
According to park authorities, having new groups is both great and challenging. “Additional groups boost mountain gorilla tourism revenues but on the other hand could cause infanticide as interactions increase due to home range overlap and competition for food,” says Elizabeth Nyirakaragire, Volcanoes National Park Veterinary Officer. Elsewhere, habituated mountain gorilla groups have not changed.