Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda

Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda - Arcadia Safaris

The Gorilla Families of Uganda: An Intimate Glimpse

Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda. In the heart of Africa, Uganda, often celebrated as the Pearl of Africa, cradles some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the continent. Among these treasures are the majestic mountain gorillas that call the misty forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park home. These gentle giants, our close relatives, thrive in family groups known as troops. Each gorilla family weaves its own unique tale of dynamics, stories, and characters. Let’s step into the world of these remarkable beings and meet the 22 gorilla families of Uganda.

Mubare Gorilla Group

The Mubare family holds the title of Uganda’s first habituated gorilla group, with the process beginning in October 1991. Named after the nearby Mubare hills, this group’s original dominant silverback, Ruhondeza, left a legacy that visitors can honor by visiting his grave during gorilla treks. Today, the family consists of 9 members, including a new silverback.

Kahungye Gorilla Group

Resting in the southern Bwindi, the Kahungye family’s name is inspired by a local hill in the Rushaga sector. Open to trekkers since October 2011, this family once boasted 27 members but now stands at 13 following a split. Their lead silverback, Gwigi, guides them through the dense forest.

Oruzogo Gorilla Group

Trekkers have been visiting the Oruzogo family since June 2011, often finding them between Buhoma and Ruhija. Led by the silverback Tibirikwata, this family of 16 members continues to captivate visitors with their interactions.

Nshongi Gorilla Group

Opened to trekkers in July 2010, the Nshongi group derives its name from the nearby “Omushongi Gwoboki” stream, which means “stream of honey.” This is the largest gorilla group in Uganda, with 25 members led by two silverbacks. The dominant silverback, Nshongi, oversees the group in the Nshongi-Rushaga area of Bwindi.

Bweza Gorilla Group

In December 2012, the Bweza family opened its forested home to visitors. Once part of the Nshongi group, the largest gorilla family, Bweza split off under the leadership of its namesake silverback. Today, the family consists of 9 members and can be found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi.

Mishaya Gorilla Group

Situated in Nshongi-Rushaga, the Mishaya group includes 12 members and one silverback. The group’s history is intertwined with the Nshongi family, having split in 2010 under the leadership of Mishaya. Since Mishaya’s death in 2014, Mwine has taken over as the dominant silverback.

Habinyanja Gorilla Group

Comprising 17 members with one silverback, the Habinyanja family roams the Buhoma sector of Bwindi. Initially habituated in 1997, the group split under the leadership of two silverbacks, forming the present-day Habinyanja family and the Rushegura group. Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda

Rushegura Gorilla Group

The Rushegura family, formed under the leadership of Mwirima, split from the Habinyanja family. Named after the place where the brothers Rwansigazi and Mwirima parted ways, this family boasts 20 members, including one silverback.

Bitukura Gorilla Group

The Bitukura family, renowned for having 4 silverbacks, attracts numerous trekkers. Ndahura, the lead silverback, ranks second to the eldest silverback, and the group includes 3 other silverbacks, 2 black backs, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles, and one infant named Kadogo.

Mukiza Gorilla Group

Formerly known as Kyaguliro, this group split after the death of its leading silverback, Rukina. Mukiza took over leadership but couldn’t fend off Rukare, leading to a split. Now, Mukiza leads Kyaguliro A, primarily used for research by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology.

Kyaguliro Gorilla Group

The Kyaguliro family, located in the Ruhija sector, split into Kyaguliro A and B after Rukina’s death. Rukare’s challenge to Mukiza resulted in the formation of Kyaguliro B. Initially used for research, both groups are now open to visitors.

Busingye Gorilla Group

In 2012, the Busingye family branched off from the Kahungye family under the leadership of Busingye. Starting with 7 members, the family now includes 9 due to Busingye’s conquests. This family resides in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi.

Bukingi Gorilla Group

Named after its home ranges, the Bukingi family underwent habituation with daily visits from veterinary doctors to monitor their health. Under the leadership of silverback Bukingi, this group can now be found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi.

Bushaho Gorilla Group

Led by silverback Bahati, the Bushaho group consists of 9 members. Found in the southern part of Bwindi in the Nkuringo sector, this family, habituated alongside the Bukingi family, is now open for trekking.

Nkuringo Gorilla Group

Named after its pioneering silverback, Nkuringo, this family’s habituation concluded in 2004. Now led by silverback Safari, the group includes 18 members. The challenging Nkuringo sector trail offers a rewarding sight of this family after a tough trek.

Kutu Gorilla Group

Found in the Rushaga sector, the Kutu family includes 8 members with one dominant silverback. Previously available for habituation, this group is now open to visitors for gorilla trekking tours. Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda

Katwe Gorilla Group

Added to the Buhoma sector in 2018, the Katwe family increased the number of gorilla groups in the area. After three years of habituation, the family now includes 10 members, with one silverback, three black-backs, four adult females, and two babies.

Mucunguzi Gorilla Group

Located in the Rushaga sector, the Mucunguzi family, led by silverback Mucunguzi, comprises 8 members. Mucunguzi, after failing to take over the Bweza group, formed his own group following a successful raid on another family.

Christmas Gorilla Group

Located in the Nkuringo sector, the Christmas family, led by silverback Christmas, is ready for trekking. Despite having 9 members, trekkers often see only six during visits.

Binyindo Gorilla Group

The latest addition to the Buhoma sector, the Binyindo family consists of six members with one silverback. After three years of monitoring by rangers and researchers, this family is now open to tourists.

Posho Gorilla Group

Currently undergoing habituation, the Posho family, led by silverback Magara, includes 14 members. This group is expected to be open for gorilla trekking soon. Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda

Nyakagezi Gorilla Group

The only gorilla family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Nyakagezi family includes 10 members with one silverback. Led by silverback Mark, this family, once known for its cross-border movements, now remains within the park.

The Human Connection

Each gorilla family is a testament to the intricate social structures and profound emotional lives of these magnificent creatures. Their stories are not just about survival but also about family, leadership, and resilience. Rangers, researchers, and conservationists who work tirelessly to protect them form a bridge between the gorillas and the world, bringing their stories to us and reminding us of our shared connection.

Remarks on Gorilla Families | Groups in Uganda

Uganda’s gorilla families are more than just wildlife; they symbolize the enduring spirit of the natural world and our responsibility to safeguard it for future generations. Their stories inspire awe, respect, and a deep sense of kinship, reminding us that in the heart of Africa’s forests, there is a world as rich and complex as our own.