Bwindi Gorilla Groups
Bwindi Gorilla Families / Bwindi Gorilla Groups – Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is a home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in the whole world and has the highest number of gorilla families. The park has about a half of the world’s remaining total population of mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda, about 470km form the capital Kampala. It is situated close to the only other four national parks where you can see the endangered mountain gorillas which are Mgahinga national park also in southwestern Uganda with one habituated gorilla family, Volcanoes national park with 10 habituated gorilla families and Virunga national park in the DRC with eight habituated gorilla families.
Bwindi impenetrable national park covers a total land area of about 321 sq kilometers which is divided into four sectors; Rushaga, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Buhoma. There is a total of about 36 gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park and among them, only 19 families of gorillas have been habituated. These Bwindi gorilla families are available for trekking throughout the whole year. Visitors who choose to and go for gorilla trekking in Bwindi have 98% chances to see the gorillas hence the top gorilla trekking destination in the world.
Bwindi gorilla families include the following;
Bitukura gorilla family
Bitukura gorilla family was first sighted in 2007 near a river. It initially had 24 members and today it has 14 members. The family is located in Ruhija sector with peaceful members who are close and friendly to Kyaguriro gorilla family. The family is led by a silverback named Ndahura who took over power from Karumazi because he could no longer fight for his members due to old age.
Kyaguriro gorilla family
Kyaguriro gorilla family was established in 1999 after habituation. It is situation in Ruhija sector and comprises 15 family members including 2 silverbacks. It was initially being led by Zeus before he was banished by a silverback known as Rukina and later on died at the age of 31 in 2015. The group is now being led by another silverback called Rukara.
Rushegura Gorilla family
This family has about 19 members and is led by a silverback named Mwirima. Rushegura is the place where silverback Mwirima separated from his former group called Habinyanja which was being led by his brother Rwansigazi before he formed his own group. The silverback started Rushegura family in 2002 with 12 members and the group has grown to 19 members today. It is located in Buhoma sector in the northern part of the park.
Habinyanja Gorilla family
Habinyanja gorilla family is one of the oldest habituated gorilla groups in the park. it started in 1997 and was first visited in 1999. It consists of 17 members and by the time it started, it was under the leadership of a silverback who was named “Munguris” which means “old man” who later on died and his brothers Mwirima and Rwansigazi took over. These two silverbacks had different personalities which later on forced them to separate and stay in different groups.
Mubare gorilla family
Mubare locally means “stones”. The family was named so because of it was found in the forest in Mubare hills which are stony. The family started in 1993 with 8 members. it was then habituated and by the time if was opened for tourism, there were 18 members. it later on suffered kidnap of its members and as the old aged leader of the group Ruhondenza tried to fight this problem, he developed a lot of sadness in his heart until he died while sleeping. After his death, there were only 5 members left and they have increased to 8 members being led by Kanyonyi. Mubare gorilla family is located in Buhoma sector.
Orugonza gorilla family
This group is situated in Ruhija sector consisting of 25 members who are led by Tebirikwata. It is one of the groups with many members which has been highly contributed to by higher child births compared to other groups. It is also proud to have a pair of twins. Orugonza gorilla family was put in place in 2011.
Kahungye gorilla family
Kahungye gorilla family was launched in 2011 with 27 gorilla members with 3 silverbacks. Later on, one of the members broke off with a number that left the initial gropu with only 13 members. This group is located in Rushaga sector.
Nkuringo gorilla family
The group was named after the location in Nkuringo sector. It is found in the western part of the park and it also got its name from the word “round hills” which will be seen all around the southwestern parts of Uganda where Bwindi impenetrable national park is located. Nkuringo gorilla family was the first group to be established in Nkuringo sector.
When Nkuringo gorilla family was established in 2004 for tourism, it was led by Alpha who later on died in the same year 2004. He left 2 sons Rafiki and Safari. Safari took over power and they have so far welcomed two gorilla babies since then making a family of 19 members. Nkuringo gorilla family stays in one of the places with trailheads that are quite challenging but the experience is always worth the hike when you come across this amazing family.
Mishaya gorilla family
The group was named after one of the former silverbacks who was known for fighting and frequent interactions with other groups. Mishaya broke away for Nshogi family group to form his own group. He once got involved into a severe fight in 2010 which led to loss of one of his infants. He also got a lot of injuries but was taken care of by the in charge vet and he later on died in 2014.
Mishaya is located in Rushaga sector with 12 members and is led by a silverback known as Mwine.
Nshogi gorilla family
This group was first sighted near river Nshogi hence its name Nshogi family group. It is located in Rushaga sector with 26 members. Nshongi gorilla group was put in place for tourism in 2009. It started with 36 members who were led by a silverback who was named Nsongi. The group declined to 26 members after the break off of 10 members by Mishaya who was known for fighting.
Bweza gorilla family
Bweza gorilla family has 9 members including one silverback. It is known to have been the largest group before it got split. It is located in Rushaga sector and is one of the most wonderful groups to visit.
Chritmas gorilla family
Christmas gorilla family is a new group that was established in Nkuringo sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park with 9 members and a dominant silverback called Christmas.
Busingye gorilla family
Busingye locally means “peace” and the gorilla family was named after the silverback Busingye who was a member of Kahungye group before he broke off to form his group in 2012. The group started with 7 members and is located in Rushaga sector. The family now consists of 9 members.
Bikyingi gorilla family
This gorilla family is led by Bikyingi the only silverback in the group. The family is located in Rushaga sector in the southern part of the park. it consists of 21 members including the silverback.
Mucunguzi gorilla family
Mucunguzi gorilla family broke off from Bweza group and is located in Rushaga sector. It has 8 members. Just like most gorillas that break off to form new groups, the silverback got into a fight before breaking off from Bweza. The group is led by Mucunguzi.
Kutu gorilla family
This group is also located in Rushaga sector. It is has 8 members and a silverback that leads the group.
Mukiza gorilla family
Mukiza gorilla family is located in Ruhija sector. The group was named after the silverback known as Mukiza who initiated a fight in 2016 and grabbed 10 members from Kyaguriro gorilla family to start his new family. This group is available for trekking anytime of the year.
The more the gorillas separate, the more families available in the forest for trekking and the more the permits availed for tourists to come and encounter these amazing cousins. Bwindi impenetrable national park is the world’s top mountain gorilla trekking destination.