In Rwanda, the beautiful amazing apes are only found in a designated conservation in the Volcanoes National park in the northern part of the country along the border of Rwanda and Uganda. Gorillas are ground dwelling primates that predominant feed on the vegetation (herbivorous) and they’re classified into two subspecies that is the “Western and Eastern gorillas.”
Rwanda’s gorillas are known as the Eastern gorillas and these divided into the “Lowland gorillas (only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Mountain gorillas which are widely spread in the Virunga Mountains, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda is part of the Virunga Mountains which inhabits a large population of the world’s few remaining apes. Other parks that have Mountain gorillas on the Virunga Mountains include Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the other Mountain gorilla population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Gorillas are critically listed as endangered species by the IUCN, In Sept/2016, and studies have it that an estimated number of 880 primates of mountain gorilla population were remaining in the whole world and Volcanoes national park over 480 populations of the primates.
Gorillas are monitored on daily basis by park officials in order to keep track of them and easily trekked by tourists who visit the Volcanoes national park regularly and this process is called “Habituation.” The difference on each individual gorilla can be spotted by its Nose prints in every habituated gorilla family in all gorilla parks, Volcanoes national park today has 10 habituated Gorilla groups visited by tourists in a group of 8 people. Per day, 72 tourists are only allowed to trek the gigantic primates guided by the park rangers (Rwanda Development Board Rangers), below are some of habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda;
The Titus group is the original family named after the Silverback “Titus” who was born in the era of Dian Fossey’s research at Karisoke research center. Titus was still young when lost his father to poachers, his mother, brother, uncle and sister joined another family leaving Titus to be raised by unrelated Silverback in another family. In Dian Fossey’s research, she indicates that Titus had difficulties in breathing and seemed “underdeveloped and spindly.” But he overcame the situation.
Susa group (Susa A)
This was the most selling family with previously 42 family members before the breakup. This group was thoroughly studied by Dian Fossey during her time of habituating gorillas in 1967 to 1985. In 2008, the group had to split because it had grown large. This group is also proud of its playful twins of Byishimo and Impano, now the group has 33 family members with 2 silverbacks that inhabit the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi. The group was named after Susa river which drains across their home.
Karisimbi group (Susa B)
This is the group that seceded away from Susa A and commonly referred to as Susa B, the group is composed of 16 family members and very hard to track as it inhabits the upper slopes of Mt. Karisimbi at an altitude of 4507m high.
“Amahoro” is a “Kinyarwanda” word that means “Peace or serenity.” The group is composed of 18 family members with 2 silverbacks and the group is somehow hard to track as it established its home at the slopes of Mt. Bisoke.
Umubano means “Togetherness.” This family broke away from “Ubumwe silverback” as a result of constant fights between Charles and Ubumwe the two leaders of the group. Charles challenged the dominancy of Ubumwe’s leadership. Charles was successful in seceding away some family members and this group comprises of 13 family members with 2 silverbacks.
Sabyinyo means ‘Old teeth’ and the name for this group was derived from Sabyinyo Volcanoes. This is the nearest and easiest gorilla family inhabiting on the gentle slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo and Mt. Gahinga. The group is famous with its giant silverback known as “Guhonda” who kicked his challenger “Ryango” out of the family. The group is composed of 13 members and he was successful in as well exiling another silverback in another family. Guhondo is the largest and heaviest gorilla in the park (weighing 220kg).
Agashya group (Group 13)
This group was derived from the group family members who were initially 13 members at the time of their habituation. This group was led by a Silverback called “Nyakarima” who was overtaken by a competitor called “Agashya (meaning ‘News’) and now is current leader of the family. The group is composed of 27 members with one Silverback (Agashya), this group shares the same territory with Sabyinyo group and Agashya drives the group deep inside the forest in case any threat is detected.
Kwitonda means “Humble one” and this group was named after a dominant Silverback called “Kwitonda.” This groups keeps on migrating from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and inhabits on the slopes of Mt. Muhabura. The group is composed of 23 members and four Silverbacks, this group is humble as its name states.
This family came up in 2006 by some members who broke away from Sabyinyo family and others from Agashya (Group 13). “Hirwa means Lucky” and this groups formation was out of luck, some other gorilla came from other groups and now the group has 16 family members with one Silverback, and the group is proud of twins who were got in 2011. This group lives around the foothills of Mt. Sabyinyo to the side of Mt. Gahinga.
Ugenda in “Kinyarwanda means on the move.” The name came up because of the group’s mobility from place to place another wanders in Karisimbi areas and very difficult to track due to lack of permanent home. The group is composed of 11 members with 2 Silverbacks.
Bwenge in “Kinyarwanda means Wisdom” and this was the group used in the filming of the movie called “Gorillas in the Mist.” The group was formed in 2007 by Bwenge the dominant Silverback, after seceding away from the Natal group with some females and other family members. This group is composed of 11 members with one Silverback. The group lives around the slopes of Karisoke volcano between Bisoke and Karisimbi mountains and the group was hit by a tragedy when they lost 6 infants at oonce.
In Rwanda now, they launched a baby gorilla naming ceremony known as “Kwita Izina” which has increased on Rwanda’s gorilla parks promotion on both local and the foreign tourists.