Two times the good news for mountain gorilla conservation

Blog | 14/02/11

Early February 2011 brought the birth of three mountain gorillas over a two-day period in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, including the birth of twins on February 3 to the Hirwa Family Group.

Kabatwa lounges with her newly born twins. Photos provided by J. Damascene HAKIZIMANA with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Kabatwa lounges with her newly born twins. Photos taken on Feb 4, 2011 and were provided by J. Damascene HAKIZIMANA with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

“It’s uncommon among the population of gorillas, and very few cases of twins have been documented in the wild or captivity,” commented Prosper Uwingeli, the Chief Park Warden of Volcanoes National Park as reported in Rwanda’s New Times. According to park officials, the birth is only the fifth case recorded in more than 40 years of gorilla monitoring in Rwanda with only one set born in the Susa Family Group in 2004 known to have survived.

The good news is that it seems that both twins are doing well and are being well cared for by their mother, who is supported by the entire mountain gorilla family. They were checked out by the Gorilla Doctors on Feb 4. IGCP Director Eugene Rutagarama visited the Hirwa Family Group on February 12 and while the twins were perched in a nest in a tree with their mother and therefore difficult to see, their cries to their mother could be heard throughout the visit. We are all wishing both twins and their mother well in these tenuous first months of life.

The additional birth came the day before, on February 2, when a baby was born in the Amahoro Family Group. Among the first to see the new baby were students from Gahunga Secondary School who were trekking gorillas organized by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme thanks to a grant from the Annenberg Foundation.

All three mountain gorilla babies will be named in an annual ceremony, Kwita Izina, which will be held at Volcanoes National Park  in Rwanda this June.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We recognise that the earth's survival is dependent on humanity's ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.