Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park are the different groups of gorilla families that are organized and led by a silverback in the park premises. In the world today, there are about 1004 mountain gorillas in existence with almost a half of the population residing in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda making volcanoes national park the second best destination for these endangered primates with several habituated gorilla families of which some are habituated for trekking and the rest for research purposes. Below is the full of some gorilla families in volcanoes national park;

Susa Gorilla Family (Susa A): This is the most common and known gorilla family in volcanoes national park that most visitors on Rwanda safari don’t want to miss out. However, Susa Gorilla’s family is very hard to trek reason being that they like moving and living in places with high altitude thus trekking them needs physical fitness, unlike other gorilla families. By the time Dian Fossey conducted her research on this gorilla family, the family had 42 members but recently it split and remained with 28 members among which there are three silver backs. The group has a pair of the joyous twins that is Byishimo and Impano. The Susa group obtained its name from River Susa which crosses through the park.

Karisimbi Gorilla Family  (Susa B): Karisimbi gorilla family came as a result of splitting amongst the Susa gorilla family leaving Susa A and forming Karisimbi family which is also known as Susa B. The family has two silverbacks and other 14 members making a family of 16 members that reside on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi at 4507m high above the sea level where they can be trekked by visitors who prefer a trek that is more tiring.

Sabinyo Gorilla Family: Of all the mountain gorilla families in volcanoes national park, Sabinyo is easily accessed for trekking. The family has a muscular and strong silverback Guhonda that is always fighting with Ryango also a silverback in the same family.

Agashya Gorilla Family: Agashya is a Rwandese word referred to as news. This gorilla family was first led by Nyakirima silverback who was later defeated by another silverback known as Agashya thus naming the family after him as the leader. This group had 13 gorilla members that obtained its name from the number of members who started the family. This family had 13 members by the time of habituation but currently, the number has doubled meaning that the family is very productive.

Hirwa Gorilla Family: This gorilla family obtained its members from Sabinyo and Agashya gorilla families. Hirwa Gorilla Family which means the Lucky Gorilla Family is known for its several movements across the Virunga Conservation Area that is shared by three parks in three different countries including Mgahinga National park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In October 2019, the Hirwa Gorilla family led by its Silverback Munyinga migrated from Rwanda through the border and entered into Mgahinga National Park and can be trekked by booking the Ugandan gorilla trekking permits with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. However, this group is treated as a guest since no one is sure of whether it will return to Rwanda or permanently stay in Uganda though visitors are free to trek it on a daily basis as long as it’s still in Uganda in Mgahinga national park alongside Nyakagezi gorilla family which is the only gorilla family in Mgahinga national park and the revenue obtained from visitors who trek this most liked Hirwa Gorilla Family is shared halfway between Uganda and Rwanda giving $300 back to Rwanda. Hirwa gorilla family originated from Susa gorilla family after developing a fight that led it to split moving with two females from the group and then obtained more two along the way and finally began their new life on mount Sabyinyo. Current visitors can trek this lucky family at a cheaper cost of $400 in Uganda than $1500 in Rwanda.  

Bwenge Gorilla Family: This is another of the Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park. This family came into existence as a result of one Silverback Bwenge leaving his family and then being joined by other females from different families to create their own family called Bwenge in the slopes of karisoke volcanoes.

Amahoro Gorilla Family: Amahoro is a Rwandese word referred to as peace. Amahoro gorilla family is known as the most peaceful gorilla family in Volcanoes led by Ubumwe silverback residing in mount Bisoke. It is every trekker’s dream to meet such a peaceful family but the only challenge is that this gorilla family inhabits Mount Bisoke which is a bit hard to trek through the terrain.

Kwitonda Gorilla Family:  This is the most humble gorilla family in volcanoes national park that migrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda as migrants. It is the farthest group since it resides in the slopes of Muhavura mountain ranges.

Umubano Gorilla Family: The word Umubano is a Rwandese word referred to as togetherness. The family is originated from the Amahoro family, which led Ubumwe as a result of constant fights that led to the splitting of the group and the silverback known as the Charles made his own family which he named Umubano.

Ugenda Gorilla FamilyThe Rwandese word Ugenda is referred “ON A MOVE”. As the name states, this gorilla family is always on a move and never settles in one place thus trekking it means moving to and fro in the thick lush until it is spotted.

Titus Gorilla Family: This family obtained its name from the silverback Titus who was born during the period of Dian Fossey’s research. Sadly, all its group members were killed by the poachers and he remained alone in the jungle of Karisimbi and Bisoke volcanoes. Lucky enough a certain gorilla family adopted him and raised him until he matured into a silverback that later on left the family with one more silver back to start up their only family called Titus.  This Gorilla Family is normally visited by researchers due to the fact depending on his history, it is believed to be the most successful gorilla family in Volcanoes National park. However, it is sometimes trekked in case there is a high demand for trekkers and limited gorilla families to trek. Titus had a natural death at the age of 35 and his legacy still portrays.

Kuryama gorilla Family: This gorilla family is one of the Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park and it originated from Titus Gorilla family is known for its vigorous migrations led by its silverback Kuryama a son of Titus. The family roams with in the Virunga conservation area. Sometimes it is traced in Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other times it is seen in Rwanda volcanoes national park.

Pablo Gorilla Family: This gorilla family was habituated and available for trekking but later it was kept aside for research purposes. This family has the largest number of members in the world. Followed by Susa family 

Ntambara Gorilla Family: This family was habituated with the majorly for research purposes and it is very easy to access this gorilla family 

Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park

Isabukuru gorilla family: This family was also habituated in 2010 and at that time it had 11 members ready for research and tourism. The family welcomed a pair of twins in 2016 

Urugamba Gorilla Family: This family came as a result of splitting from the Ugenda Family leaving with 5 members including one silverback, two adult females with their sons and one Juvenile making up a group of 6 members.

“There are several gorilla families in volcanoes national park most of which resulted from splitting from other groups and coming together to make their own families. These gorilla families are well protected for research and tourism while in their natural habitats.”