Gorilla families in Rwanda
Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park has 10 habituated gorilla families available for tourists to visit. Rwandan gorilla permit is at $1500 though this seems to be high cost; gorilla tracking remains a major tool for raising funds and their habitats. The high price means that few people can afford to buy the permit which is reducing pressure off the gorillas. This has advantage for visitors in a way that gorilla permits are available all year round. Only 8 tourists are allowed to visit 1 gorilla family for 1 hour per day. The gorilla families include:-
Susa gorilla family has 13 members led by a silverback called Nyagakangaga. The home range of this gorilla family is found along the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi (4,507 meters above sea level) the tallest volcano in volcanoes national park and virunga mountain ranges. Due to steep slopes, this family may be the difficult to trek.
Susa-B also known as Igisha Gorilla Family
Individuals: 26 gorillas
Igisha gorilla family also known as Susa group B split from the original Susa family when the current silverback Igisha moved away with 23 individuals. Later on Igisha silverback seduced two other gorilla members into his family to make up 26 individuals. They include 3 silverbacks, 7 infants and 7 adult females, 2 black backs, 4 juveniles and 3 sub-adult males.
The Sabinyo Group
Individuals: 8 gorillas
Sabinyo lives on the slopes of mount Sabinyo volcano which it was named after. It is one of the easy to track gorilla families. Most of the time gorillas are found feeding on lower slopes or closer to the boundary of the park. Led by Guhonda, one of the strongest silverbacks in volcanoes national park has managed to keep `its family including 3 adult females.
Amahoro Gorilla Family
Individuals: 17 gorillas
Amahoro is another gorilla family of 17 individuals led by 1silverback. Amahoro is Kinyarwanda word which means “peaceful” Its home range is found on the slopes of Mt. Bisoke with less difficulty though; one has to deal with steep climbs to reach the family on the day of trekking, use a porter to carry your backpacks.
Umubano gorilla family
Individuals: 11 gorillas
Umubano gorilla family is led by 1 silverback Charles which broke away from Amahoro family. These two gorilla families live in overlapping ranges.
Individuals: 25 gorillas
Agashya is the second largest gorilla family in Rwanda with 25 members led by 1 silverback. The silverback made wonders by increasing its members from 13 to 25 and was named Agashya which means “news”. This family rooms the slopes of Mt. Sabinyo and often moves to feed far in the slopes of Mt. Gahinga volcano.
Hirwa Gorilla Family
Hirwa is one of the new gorilla families in Volcanoes national park. It was birthed out of the members that left group 13 and Sabinyo family and Hirwa means “lucky one” hence it was lucky that other gorillas joined the family to make up to 9 individuals. They include 1 silverback, 3 adult females, 2 sub adult females and 3 babies who have attracted most tourists to trek the family for the baby gorillas are playful.
Bwenge Gorilla Family
This gorilla family was formed in 2007; it has 11 individuals led by Bwenge the Silverback. It’s one of the popular gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park because it featured in “Gorillas in the Mist” a movie that was produced in 1988 to show the conservation efforts of Dian Fossey who pioneered gorilla conservation research in Rwanda.