Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi

Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi: However, the number of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park are increasing year by year, so far over 21 gorilla families have been listed in 2021.Bwindi Impenetrable national park is famous for holding the world’s highest population of great mountain gorillas. According to the 2018 census Uganda Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities released results that Mountain gorilla population was on the increase, even the global population of mountain gorillas increased to over 1,063 from the 880 ‘’2011’’ it was total division between the 3 African countries that is, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi

According to the research carried out between May and December 2018, there were a minimum of 459 gorillas from over 400 individuals of 2011 in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park alone and over 80 individuals in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Indeed, Bwindi Impenetrable national park holds half of all great mountain gorillas in the world thus becoming important for the global survival of these mountain gorillas which cannot be overstated. 

Note that, Bwindi Impenetrable national park population is divided into 50 gorilla families and 13 solitary individuals. In 2021, only 21 families are habituated and can be encountered by visitors in 4 trekking regions that is Nkuringo, Buhoma, Ruhija and Rushaga.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is also Uganda’s gorilla trekking destination which offers one trekking region that is Ntebeko and Nyakagezi Gorilla family the only habituated gorilla group found here. During those years, the member group used to migrate and were frequent travelers, taking off for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Since 2012 they returned home and have never moved again crossing over to nearby borders of Congo.

Interestingly, there are two main selling activities done here, gorilla trekking an experience which starts early in the morning with briefing at the park headquarter then meet the park ranger to locate you to the gorilla family you’re to trek. Please notice this, gorilla trekking is unpredictable which can last 2 to 8 hours depending on gorilla movements. Once you find them one hour is given to the visitor to watch their amazing social life.

Gorilla habituation is a process that takes 2 years under training and during this time gorilla get accustomed human beings so they remain doing their routine activities in their nature inhabits even when human being are present.

The ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority Conservation rules, lists that only 8 visitors age 15 years and above can be allowed to trek each of the habituated gorilla groups per day. Over 160 gorilla trekking permits can be on sell each day along with over 8 for Mgahinga family.

Behold, there is nothing worth a visit than getting close to our cousins or furthest gorilla family when trekking the gorillas. Booking your preferred trekking gorilla sector which is very possible and done through your preferred tour agency.

Below is the checklist of the 21 mountain gorilla families in ‘’2021’’ for trekkers along with their premium gorilla trekking respective Bwindi Impenetrable National Park regions in Uganda.

Mubare Gorilla Family

Mubare gorilla family is a group of 9 members including 1 silverback found in Buhoma regions. It is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda and was found in the Mubare hills, deep in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and was fully habituated in 1998.This group began with 12 family members led by the dominant silverback ‘’Ruhondeza’ ’In a few years the number increased to 18 individuals. Unfortunately, due to fights with others wild gorilla groups, it led to loss of number of members including the one Ruhondeza who used to cater for the family. The group remained with 5 members until March 2013 when other members joined them including a new dominant silverback and made a total of 11 members now an ideal group to visit. The group is being led by Kanyonyi –the silverback ,6 adults ,1 teenager and 3 toddlers. Due to its Convenient location with the Queen Elizabeth national park, Mubare gorilla permits are now priority for many tour operator and travelers.

Habinyanja Gorilla Family

This group is made up of 17 members including 1 silverback and can be trekked in Buhoma region. Before it was a group of 25 members and it was opened for tourism in 1999.However, the name Habinyanja derives from a local word ‘’Nyanja’’ which means ‘’body of water’’, which refers to the swamp found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park where the group first existed. This group had number of strong males which caused power struggles between the dominant silverbacks fighting for family leadership thus splitting into two families causing the creation of Rushegura family.

Despite the fact that, when large families split leads it to form a new gorilla family and sometimes can be joined by members rejected by other families, gorillas do retain the brotherhood and don’t fight against former family members if they meet.

The gorilla family is led by one silverback ,1 blackbacks ,5 adult females ,1 Sub-adult ,3 Juveniles and 6 infants. Visitors engaging in gorilla trekking in this gorilla family it may take 2 to 8 hours depending on their location but we advise you to book your accommodation in Buhoma region of Bwindi for easy access. The family is headed by the shrewd alpha female called Makara.

Rushegura Gorilla Family

This is a group of 16 members, listed with 1 silverback ,4 blackbacks ,4 adult females .3 Juveniles ,4 Infants and is headed by Kabukojo.

The Rushegura Gorilla Family is located in Buhoma region and was officially opened for tourism in 2002, after one of the silverbacks from the Habinyanja decided to break away from the group. The group started with 12 individuals including 5 females. This Habinyanja 2 group received a new name that comes from ‘’Ebishegura’ ’a tree species that developed the home area of the new family. Those wishes a shorter trek for gorilla group in Bwindi we recommend you to trek this group.

Katwe Gorilla Family

This is a group made up of 7 members including 1 silverback, located in Buhoma region. It is a newly Gorilla Family in Buhoma region for about 3 years under habituation. The group was officially opened for gorilla trekking in August 2018.For over years, this region has had just 3 habituated gorilla families, since the area is closer to Queen Elizabeth national park gorilla permits are easily got but it’s better to book in advance and offers classic luxury lodging facilities in Bwindi. Now 32 gorilla passes are available each in this region of Bwindi Gorilla Park.

Muyambi Gorilla Family

This is a family of 7 members headed by 1 silverback and located in Buhoma region.

Muyambi Gorilla Family is the newest group in Buhoma of Bwindi officially opened early 2019.Muyambi was an adult family member of Mubare family, it spilt away from the group to form other group named Muyambi group now. There was a new addition to the group in May 2020.Visit one of gorilla families in Bwindi to have amazing experience of watching these great apes on how they live their daily life of feeding, communicating, Resting and movement on ground and in the trees.

Habituated Gorilla in Ruhija Region of Bwindi 

Bitukura Gorilla Family

This is a group of 13 members headed by Ndahura ,4 silverbacks ,4 adult females ,2 Juveniles and 3 infants, located in Ruhija area.

The Bitukura Gorilla Group was named after a river where the family members were first sighted. It was launched in July 2007 respective. Although the habituated proceed normally takes a minimum of two years, this family could already be visited by the visitor within 15 months after the start. At first the group heard 24 members but due to fights within the family, some of the gorillas simply chose to break from the group and joined other families. Travelers who wish to visit this family, it’s advisable to book your lodge in Buhoma for easy access to catch the pre-track Orientation early in the morning.

Oruzogo Gorilla Family 

Oruzogo Gorilla Family is made up of 17 members lead by Batwate ,2 silverbacks ,5 adult females ,2blackbacks, Sub-adults ,1 Juvenile and 5 infants and positioned in Ruhija region.

This Gorilla family begun to receive visitors in 2011 and those who came to visit them were amazed by the group. The hikes need someone physically fit in the body. The group is fondly known for foraging and feeding on vegetation component by Alchornea hitela plant ‘’in local word Oruzogo’ ’It is one of the most visited family with the tourist not because of the size but being playful and energetic juveniles and toddlers in the group. On your visit you’re advised to sleep in Ruhija area for a pre-tracking Orientation.

Kyaguliro Gorilla Family

The Kyaguliro group is a group of 10 members lead by Rukara silverback ,2 blackbacks ,3 adult females ,2 Juveniles and 2 infants, located in Ruhija region of Bwindi. The group was dedicated for gorilla research purposes and start in 1995 following the sudden death of the principal family ‘’Rukina’’ which was heated by an electric shock due to lightening on 7th April 2015.After its death, the family was left under the leadership of dormant silverback ‘’Mukiza’’ who was later ambushed by an immigrating Adult silverback ‘’Rukara’’ from the Bitukura family. This led to a split of the family in May 2016 forming another group Kyaguliro A under Rukara and Kyaguliro B under Mukiza. Generally, the whole family is known for spending its time in the inner forest and not easy to get close to the forest’s peripherals.

Mukiza Gorilla Family

This is a group of gorillas which break from Kyaguliro gorilla under the leadership of Rukina who died in 2015.Mukiza the young silverback lost leadership of leading a big gorilla family and walked away with a small number or individuals forming the current Mukiza family. Mukiza gorilla family is a group of 10 members headed by Mukiza the silverback ,4 adults ,1 Sub-adult and 4 Infants.

Habituated Gorilla Families in Nkuringo Region in the south part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Nkuringo Gorilla Family

The Nkuringo Gorilla Family is made up of 11 members ,2 blackbacks ,2 sub adults ,3 Juveniles and 2 infants. The group is headed by Rwamutwe and located in Nkuringo area.

The word Nkuringo derives from the local word Rukiga which means ‘’round hill’ ’Before it was composed of 17 members and was the first gorilla family to be habituated in the entire southern area of Bwindi in 1997 after the 2 year habituated process.

On June 1 ,2020 it was sad news when the wildlife poachers killed the famous 25-year-old Rafiki Gorilla silverback and the family lost its lead. Later on the family stabilized with 11 individuals under the leadership of Rwamutwe the dominant blackbacks.

Bushaho Gorilla Family

This gorilla group is headed by Bahiti Silverback under a size of 8 members ,1blackback ,3 adult females ,1 sub-adult ,1 Juvenile and 1 infant, found in Nkuringo area. The Bushaho Gorilla Family was launched in early 2012 and the one of the silverbacks formerly lead the group was named SB Bahati who moved on earlier through leading a parallel family. Some of the members of whom was leading were former members of the Nkuringo family many more ‘’non-habituated members’’. What started as a follow up, later led to close monitoring of the behavior of the new parallel family? Later on, the group was habituated and named ‘’Bushaho’’.

Habituated Gorilla Families found in Rushaga Region of Bwindi, below are listed number of gorilla group where you can enjoy your gorilla trekking experience from;

Nshongi Gorilla Family

The Nshongi Gorilla Family was officially introduced in September 2009 and was named after the river Nshongi where the gorilla family was sighted. It was the largest family ever habituated with about 32 gorilla members but the number of members has decreased due to splitting to form other gorilla group. The group has a size of 10 habituated Gorilla members ,1 silverback ,3 adult Nshongi females ,1 Sub-adult ,2 Juvenile and 3 infants and the family is led by Bweza.

The Nshongi Gorilla Group is located in Rushaga region in a large forested area where you can also see other primates, bird life and beautiful butterflies. A new member was welcomed into the family in May 2020.

Bikingi Gorilla Family

This is a gorilla family which was commenced in early 2012 as a follow up exercise of the dispersing members of the Mishaya family. However, several members of the former Mishaya family were positioned in the group alongside other non-habituated members and later on, was declared to keep close monitoring of the formerly habituated members.

Mishaya Gorilla Family

This is a group of 12 members with 1 dominant silverback, located in Rushaga area of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. In July 2010 silverback Mishaya decided to leave the Nshongi with some females he was a typical fighter. Unfortunately, Mishaya died in 2014 and was the only adult male in the group.

By the end of 2015, the family was 7 gorillas but has we mentioned earlier, gorilla families some time are joined by friends making it a successful battle in the group.

Kahungye Gorilla Family

This group was officially opened for visitors for gorilla trekking in 2011 and composed of 29 individuals including 3 silverbacks. Less than a year later, some of members split due to intra-male rivalry. For today the family has a size of 17 members ,3 silverbacks ,3 blackbacks, 3 adult females ,3 sub-adult, 3 juveniles and 2 infants. The Kahungye gorilla family is headed by Rumanzi silverback. Note the word Kahungye comes from a hill in the Rushaga area where the gorillas were sighted.

Bweza Gorilla Family

The Bweza gorilla family is located in Rushanga area of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, a family of 12 individuals ,2 silverbacks,3 adult females ,4 blackbacks ,1 sub adult and 2 infants. This gorilla family is one of Nshongi group that used to be the biggest ever habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. In the month of July 2010 Silverback Mishaya decided to leave the group with reasonable number of them including the Bweza silverback and formed his own family. Then towards the end of 2012, Bweza chose to be independent and walked away with 6 other members from Mishaya Gorilla group. In 2013, UWA management speculated that the Bweza split would return and re-bond with Mishaya but it never came to pass. They had to introduce it for trekking, since 2014 it has been open for tourism.

Busingye Gorilla Family

This group is formed of 9 individuals ,1 silverback ,1 juvenile,3 adult females and 4 infants and being headed by Busingye silverback.

Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi
Habituated Mountain Gorilla Families in Bwindi

Kutu Gorilla Family

This is a new gorilla family located in Rushaga area of Bwindi national park, forming a family member of 8 with 1 silverback. It is still under habituation and perfect for visitor who wish to participate in gorilla habituation experience.

Munguzi Gorilla family

This is a newly habituated gorilla family of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The name Mucunguzi means ‘’Savior’ ’and the group split off from Bweza family, composed of 8 members.

Rwigi Gorilla family

The Rwigi Gorilla Family is a newly Gorilla family for trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Rushaga sector. The group is composed of 10 members.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Nyakagezi Gorilla Family

The Nyakagezi Gorilla family is positioned in Ntebeko in Mgahinga gorilla national park and comprises 10 individuals including 1 silverback. This is the only gorilla family found in Mgahinga Gorilla national park and the group is led by Mark, the dominant Silverback who likes travelling to nearby borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Permits for this group can only be booked at the local UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in the park due to unpredictable behavior.

For more information about these gorilla groups and bookings of gorilla permits feel free to contact us because customers are our first priority.

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