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Gorilla families in Uganda

Uganda is recorded in History to have the biggest number of Mountain Gorilla with a minimum number of 400 Mountain Gorillas recorded up from 302 in the 2006 census. About 80 Mountain Gorillas are also located in Mgahinga Gorilla National park, all under one Gorilla Group that inhabits the area. There are over 12 habituated gorilla families in Uganda. Currently, the Gorilla families in Bwindi and Mgahinga have been habituated for gorilla tracking. Gorilla habituation is a process that takes 2 years and involves training Mountain Gorillas to get used to human beings, as they continue with their day to day activities in their wild natural environment. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit each Gorilla family per day and only one hour is given to them to be spent with the gorillas.

Mubare Gorilla Family

This was the very first group to be habituated among the gorilla families in Uganda for tracking by tourists in 1993.  The Mubare group is actually named after the stunning Mubare Hills where this group was discovered. The Mubare group consists of 8 individuals including 1 silverback. For the time of habituation, the group has faced a misfortune of raids by mountain Gorilla family kidnappers which caused death within the family in 2012 when the Gorilla family members were kidnapped.

Ruhondenza the leader of Mubare by then tried to fight them but because of his old age he was over powered which lead to his unbearable sadness in his heart. History has it that he dead in his sleep because of his unbearable sadness and his grave can be visited by tourists, the 5 members who were left by Ruhondenza have increased to 8 members which are led by Alpha the silverback called Kanyonyi.

Gorilla families in Uganda
Gorilla families in Uganda

Nshongi Gorilla Family

Nshongi Gorilla Family is the largest group of all gorilla families in Uganda. This group is found in Rushaga sector and it was launched in 2009 with the biggest habituation group, it was named after River Nshongi where it was first sighted.

The family was led by Nhsongi the silverback with 36 members who were visited daily but later on division occurred in 2010 when Mishaya broke off with 10 members to form his own after two years later in 2010 Bweza the silverback also broke off with some members to form his own ,the family was left with only 26 members.

Mishaya Gorilla Family

Mishaya Gorilla family has 12 members who can be visited everyday by 8 people. This group is known as a fighter because of the leader it had a long time ago its name was derived after Mishaya the silverback previously known for fighting, interaction with other Gorrila families, he broke away from Nshogi family with 10 members to start his own family.

Mishaya was known for his fights in 2010 he started a fight which lead to more injuries and he lost one of his infants but thanks to the mountain Gorilla vet nary who rescued him, although he later passed on in 2014. The family is now lead by Mwine the silverback this family can be visited in Rushaga sector.

Gorilla families in Uganda
Gorilla families in Uganda

Nkuringo Gorilla Family

The Nkuringo Gorilla family originated from the The word ‘Nkuringo’ is  which means  “round hills”. This family is the only group located in the Nkuringo sector that was launched in 2004. This family is the most challenging trailheads of Gorilla trekking but one of the most satisfying and worth your trek in the life time experience.

Way back, the family was led by one of the Silverback Alpha who was named after the word ‘Nkuringo’ and later died in 2004 after a successful habituation. Nkuringo was succeeded by Safari the elder brother who took over power and has been able to hold the family firm through hard times and seasons of happiness and during his reign the family has welcomed two baby twins namely Muhoza and katungi although Katungi could not live to see his second birthday and he passed on. The family consists of 19 members including 2 Silverbacks.

Kyaguriro Gorilla Family

Kyaguriro group is one of the most treasured Gorilla groups after its habituation in 1999. This group was reserved for research and study purpose by ‘Max Planck institute by evolutional of Anthropology’. This group is also part of the Gorilla family groups in Ruhija sector and consists of 15 members including 2 Silverbacks. The group has seen a number of generation since Rukina who was the leader after Zeus who was announced dead in 2015.

This gorilla family has helped in a big number of research and conservation to learn about the differences in Mountain Gorillas with those in Virunga Volcanoes National park.

Gorilla families in Uganda

Oruzogo Gorilla Family

Oruzogo has 25 members including 2 Silverbacks this family was established in 2011 by the Uganda wildlife Authority. This group is led by Tebirikwata one of the oldest Gorilla in the family. Since 2011, the family has enlarged with more family members due to increase of child birth by the elder females Ntumurungi, Musi both in the same year , another bundle of joy happened to come in 2013 when kankoba gave birth to twins. The group is known of its playful ways and its energetic characters. This group consists of family members with different names derived from local names including Busungu which means (short tempered “), Bwoba (coward), kakanga (the giant one).

Bitukura Gorilla Family

Bitukura gorilla family has 14 members. This peaceful gorilla group was first sighted in 2007 with its original number of 24 members near the river were the family was located. The habitation was shorter than any other habituation which takes a period of 2 years. The family has a close bond and share together with the Kyaguriro family.

It’s a family known to be playful and friendly, which makes it easier to be closer and build togetherness with other members. The family is led by the second youngest silverback ‘Ndahura’ who inherited and took over power from Karumazi. Although the family has faced a lot of trails Bitukura is happier than before and close since in 2013 when they received new members in the family. Bitukura Gorilla Family is found in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi.

Habinyanja Gorilla Family

Habinyanja Gorilla Family is one of the newest gorilla families in Uganda was founded in 1997 though it was first visited by Tourists in 1999. The word Habinyanja comes from a local word Nyanja ‘meaning water’, it’s one of the swamp in the forest where this family was found. The family consists of 17 members with 2 silver backs and the time the family was habituated ,it was led by one dominant silver back called Munguris a local word meaning ‘old man’ who later passed on due to his old age. And later on he was inherited by his two Brothers Mwirima and Rwansigazi who took over power to lead the family though they later on the two did not agree on ruling the family and hence separated in 2002.
Therefore the group that stayed with Rwansigazi was named Habinyanja. This family is found is Buhoma sector

The Rushegura Gorilla Family

The Rushegura Gorilla Group is one of the biggest gorilla families in Uganda with 19 members in total and lead by one silverback Mwirima a brother to a former silverback in Habinyanja called Rwansigazi. The group is named after a place where these two brothers separated to form their own independent group. It was brought together in 2002 after one silver back from the Habinyanja group decided to break away and start his only family with a number of 12 members including 5 females. By 2010 the number increased from 12 to 19 members, the family is led by a calm, friendly and its known as the most calm family in Bwindi forest. This group could always cross to Congo but always returned, it’s also known for wandering in nearby villages and lodges at times this making it the calmest family in Buhoma and entire Bwindi.