Gorilla Families and Gorilla Permits in Congo

Within the great Volcano region within the Congo basin , There are six mountain gorillas groups habituated and opened for tourism in Virunga National Park. The park also has two families of Eastern Lowland gorillas which are not yet opened for tourism. The Mountain gorillas are the rarest Apes that most Tourists are interested in. The information bellow high lights about all the habituated mountain gorillas’ families. Currently as in July 2012-2013 the national park is closed and gorilla tourism is open and is monitored or guarded by the M23 as the political body in  in the region of North Kivu in Congo DRC.Clients who wish to go gorilla trekking in Congo a advised to spend night in Kisoro ,The previous situation had caused  a serious threat to the conservation of the gorillas.

Kabirizi Family

The family is composed of 40 Gorillas including 3 Silverbacks. The group is found in Bukima sector which is close to Goma and the group is led by Kabirizi Silver back. The group derived its name from an ICCN Director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s. Previously, the silver back Kabirizi was not a habituated gorilla family and instead a wild gorilla. Later in 1998, he was named the head of his family after habituation. Formerly, this group was known as Ndungutse family because by then it was led by Ndungutse Silverback who was assassinated in 1997 after being caught in crossfire between the DR Congo army and Rwandan rebels near the Bukima patrol post.

Humba Family

The group is led by Humba silverback and is also found in Bukima sector of the Park close to Goma. It is composed of 16 Gorillas including 2 Silverbacks. This is so far the calmest habituated Gorilla group and many tourists and ranger like to track it. Humba is a brother to Senkwekwe Silverback who was executed on 22nd July 2007 by unidentified gun men. Humba split from Rugendo (His father) in 1998 and since he has been a Silverback till now.

Rugendo Family

The group has six individuals of gorillas including three Silverbacks. It is led by Rugendo the father of Humba. It was habituated in 1989 and by 1997 the group had 18 individuals with two Silverbacks (Rugendo and his son Humba). When Humba split from his father in 1998, only 8 Individuals stayed with Rugendo and in the next few years, there was increase in the number of the Gorillas in this group because of the consecutive births that followed. In 1999, there were two births in the Rugendo group from the adult female Safe Gorilla’s Families in Congo DRC

Within the great Volcano region within the Congo basin , There are six mountain gorillas groups habituated and opened for tourism in Virunga National Park. The park also has two families of Eastern Lowland gorillas which are not yet opened for tourism. The Mountain gorillas are the rarest Apes that most Tourists are interested in. The information bellow high lights about all the habituated mountain gorillas’ families. Currently as in July 2012-2013 the national park is closed and gorilla tourism is open and is monitored or guarded by the M23 as the political body in  in the region of North Kivu in Congo DRC.Clients who wish to go gorilla trekking in Congo a advised to spend night in Kisoro ,The previous situation had caused  a serious threat to the conservation of the gorillas.

Kabirizi Family

The family is composed of 40 Gorillas including 3 Silverbacks. The group is found in Bukima sector which is close to Goma and the group is led by Kabirizi Silver back. The group derived its name from an ICCN Director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s. Previously, the silver back Kabirizi was not a habituated gorilla family and instead a wild gorilla. Later in 1998, he was named the head of his family after habituation. Formerly, this group was known as Ndungutse family because by then it was led by Ndungutse Silverback who was assassinated in 1997 after being caught in crossfire between the DR Congo army and Rwandan rebels near the Bukima patrol post.

Humba Family

The group is led by Humba silverback and is also found in Bukima sector of the Park close to Goma. It is composed of 16 Gorillas including 2 Silverbacks. This is so far the calmest habituated Gorilla group and many tourists and ranger like to track it. Humba is a brother to Senkwekwe Silverback who was executed on 22nd July 2007 by unidentified gun men. Humba split from Rugendo (His father) in 1998 and since he has been a Silverback till now.

Rugendo Family

The group has six individuals of gorillas including three Silverbacks. It is led by Rugendo the father of Humba. It was habituated in 1989 and by 1997 the group had 18 individuals with two Silverbacks (Rugendo and his son Humba). When Humba split from his father in 1998, only 8 Individuals stayed with Rugendo and in the next few years, there was increase in the number of the Gorillas in this group because of the consecutive births that followed. In 1999, there were two births in the Rugendo group from the adult female Safi who gave birth to Katembo, and Neza also gave birth. However on 15th July 2001, the Rugendo group was caught up in clashes between the military and the Interahamwe militia groups and as a result Rugendo the Silverback was shot dead just 40 meters from the park boundary. In 2007, the group was attacked and 4 Gorillas were shot dead including 3 adult females (Safari, Neza, and Mburanumwe) and the Senkwekwe who was the lead Silverback a successor of Rugendo.

Mapuwa Family

The group is composed of 15 individuals of gorillas with 1 silverback and is found in Jomba near Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border). The group is lead by a silverback named Mapuwa and has acquired and protected his family by all means even in violent struggle. He was a son of Rugendo and left his father’s camp in 1998 and started his own family. When he left, he took along 2 adult females named Jicho and Mafaze. Continuously, he fought wars to acquire more females like in 2002, he fought with Pili-Pili and acquired 3 individuals from him and leaving him solitary. Consecutive births have occurred until now that the family has 15 individuals.

Lulengo Family

The group has 6 gorillas and 1 silverback. It is led by Lulengo himself and is found in Jomba near Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border). Lulengo was born into the Rugabo Family which was the first mountain gorilla family in the Mikeno Sector to be habituated. Formerly the group was called ‘Musekura’ but the Rangers changed his name to Lulengo in the memory of the Technical Director of Virunga National Park who was killed by a land mine. His father Rugabo also died violently when he was shot by poachers during the Great Lakes Refugee Crisis in 1994. After his death, the family was left in the hands of his sons Lulengo (Blackback), Pili-Pili, Mareru and Nvuyekure (Juvenile).

Munyaga Family

The group is located in Bukima close to Goma and has 7 gorillas with 2 silverbacks. It was the last Gorilla group to be found by rangers in 2008. The family was led by Munyaga by then the Silverback and the dominant adult female is named Bilali. She was from the Rugendo group in 2004 and after she joined, she had two babies but they both died in infancy. At the same time, Munyaga also disappeared and as of now, the group is under Silverback Mawazo who lived with Buhanga until 1997, then joined Karatega, then went back to Buhanga in 1998 and then, a month later, he joined the Munyaga Family.

Gorilla Families in Kahuzi Biega National Park in Congo

The trekking to see the Eastern lowland gorillas is open in the protected area of Kahuzi Biega National Park. In 2011 we recorded that there are three habituated families, Chimanuka, Mankoto and Mugaruka. With ten families of gorillas remaining in the park area, the estimated number of gorillas today is 140 individuals only. A previous survey conducted in 1992 was showing the presence of 25 families with a total number of 284 individuals. The political turmoil which followed during the 90th and till recent time has affected much the conservation of the species. A new gorilla family is under habituation in 2011 and in 2015 the park opened for gorilla trekking and visit the eastern lowland gorillas with a Trusted Tour operator.

Booking a Congo gorilla Safari holiday to visit the primates , can reward you with the extras like visiting the Maiko National Park, Idjwi Island congo and other Tourists Destinations like Upemba National park.

Congo Gorilla Tour Operators Listing

Gorilla Safaris Africa
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Congo Gorilla Tours

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Congo Travel $ Tours

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