Facts about gorilla families in Congo for habituation

Congo Mountain Gorilla Families can be located in Virunga National Park, which has approximately 7 gorilla families for tracking, with an additional two groups currently in the habituation process. The number of gorillas is unknown due to insecurity in the area, although the previous census estimated it to be above 125,000, with 7 newborns. The following are nine gorilla-habituated families found in Congo

Mapuwa gorilla group

The Virunga national park’s Mapuwa gorilla group was once led by a dominating silverback Mapuwa, who was exceptionally strong and persistently fought to safeguard his family through countless violent battles. Mapuwa fled his father’s group in 1988, creating his own family with two adult females he departed with, Jicho and Mafaze. Mapuwa has gained numerous members to his gang by continuous fights, such as when he faced Pilipili, a famed silverback in Virunga, in 2002, taking all of his family members with him. There have been as well many births, bringing the total number of members to 22, led by a dominant silverback named Mvuyekure, and the family is located in Jomba, next to Bunagana.

Nyakamwe group

The Nyakamwe group is led by Silverback Nyakamwe and is located in the Bukima section of the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Nyakamwe group was formed in 2014 as a consequence of a schism in the Humba group. Nyakamwe Silverback faced internal disputes with his brother Humba and ended up departing the group with ten individuals on April 20, 2014, leaving Humba’s group with only 5 people. The Nyakamwe family presently consists of 11 members, including two Silverbacks, one Black-back, three adult females, one sub-adult female, two adolescents, and two newborns.

Baraka gorilla family

This is the most recent family to be named after Rachel Baraka. Rachel Masika Baraka served as one of the park’s wildlife force’s 26 female rangers. She was murdered while leading British tourists to Mikeno Lodge in Virunga National Park on a Congo gorilla expedition. As a result, the park chose to name this family in honor of that slain hero. The Silverback Baraka leads this group In Virunga National Park, Baraka is believed to be the father of several Silverbacks.

Humba Gorilla family

This peaceful group of ten individuals is based in Bukima and was given the name after Humba, their leader silverback. Humba split up with his father Rugendo in 1998, along with six individuals, and was the brother of Senkwekwe, who was slain by gunmen in 2007. The Humba group had 16 members in 2014, however, a dispute between Humba and his brother Nyakamwe limited the group size. Nyakamwe left with ten people, leaving Humba with six. New births and the addition of individuals from other groups, such as Kakule, a female from the Munyaga group, have increased the group’s size. Tourists adore this tribe, which lives in the park’s Gatovu and Bikenge regions.

Munyaga family

The Munyaga group is situated within Virunga National Park’s Bukima zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Silverback’s before 1998, Munyaga had been a lonely wild Silverback. Munyaga met a Buhanga group led by the adult female Nsekuye in February 1998 and took advantage of the absence of a dominating Silverback to make himself the group leader. Later, the team engaged with the Kabirizi group multiple times, until Munyaga lost all of his females to the Kabirizi group. Munyaga then vanished for two years (2007-2008). After his disappearance, Mawazo assumed leadership of the group, which he still holds today. Currently, the group consists of nine individuals; three silverbacks, two adult females, two juveniles, and two babies.

Bageni Gorilla Family

Bageni Gorilla Family is led by Silverback Bageni. Bageni grew up in his father’s troop, Kabirizi, and a few years later battled his father for authority, fleeing with 20 people to form his own. Females, including Kamoso, his mother Mapendo, a young adult Ntamuculira, and another silverback, Kanamahalagi, were among those he snatched from his father. The Bageni family currently consists of 46 members, including three silverbacks, thirteen adult females, one Blackback, seven sub-adult females, one sub-adult male, and ten infants. There are 2 other Silverbacks, who are fighting for the leadership (Silverback Kanamaharagi and Kitagenda).

Lulengo gorilla group

The Lulengo gorilla group consists of 11 individuals: one silverback, one black-back, two sub-adults, three adult females, two juveniles, and two infants.  The team travels between the Bikenga and Jomba sections of Virunga National Park, led by silverback Lulengo. Rugabo Silverback was the dominating male when the group emerged in 1985. Rugabo and the other two adult ladies were killed when the tribe was assaulted by porches nine years later. Rangers were able to rescue a child from the poachers, who were afterward captured and imprisoned. Rugabo’s son, Lulengo, gained command of the twelve remaining unit members in the aftermath. Conflicts with other gorilla families in Virunga National Park, particularly Mapuwa and Rugendo, have occurred under Lulango’s reign, resulting in the loss of family members.

Rugendo family

Rugendo was one of the initial groups that were habituated in 1985, alongside Rugabo and Zunguruka. The gang was founded by Silverback Rugendo, who was regrettably assassinated by rebels in the Bukima area in 2001. Rugendo is also the father of other Silverbacks in Virunga National Park, including Mapuwa, Humba, Ruzirabwoba, Mukunda, Nyakamwe, Mburanumwe, Baseka, Kongomani, Lubutu, and Bahati. Following his death, his son Senkwekwe assumed leadership of the group until 2007, when he was slain along with five other gorillas from his group by unknown persons.

The group was left lacking leadership for a few months until 2008 when the lone Silverback Bukima assumed command. Bukima was a member of the Buhanga group until joining the Munyaga group and becoming a lone Silverback in 2005. The Rugendo group is now led by Silverback Rugendo and consists of 9 people: 3 Silverbacks, 1 Black-back, 1 Adult female, 2 Sub-adult females, and 2 newborns.

Kabirizi Gorilla group

Kabirizi, a mighty but modest silverback, leads this group. It can be found in the Bukima area near Goma. The group was named after the ICCN Director who deceased in a traffic accident. This Congo gorilla group was formerly called the “Ndungutse” family named the dominant silverback, Ndungutse. Ndungustse took over from his father, Zunguruka, who succumbed to old age. However, Ndungutse was killed in a crossfire between the government and Rwandan rebel forces in 1997. These occurrences, as well as others such as conflict and rivalry, set the way for Kabirizi, a wild gorilla, to seize control of the group. However, an intriguing young but aggressive silverback named Masibo has come to prominence and challenges Kabirizi’s leadership.