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- On May 11, 2020
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The gorilla community in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has been joined by two baby gorillas that were born in the park last week. The two baby gorillas were born in the Muyambi and Nshongi gorilla families according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) that manages the park.
Currently, the sexes of the two babies are not yet known because the infants are still tightly guarded by their moms. According the statement released by UWA to the press, the infant gorillas are thought to have been born on April 25 and May 1 and they caused huge excitement in their respective families.
“Mother Kabagyenyi and Silverback Bweza and Nshongi are tightly guarding the baby gorilla while in Muyambi group silverback Muyambi and unnamed mother are soothing and warming their new family member,” UWA said in a statement sent to the New Vision on Sunday.
About Nshongi Gorilla group
Nshongi was the first gorilla group to be habituated in the Rushaga sector with at least 35 individuals who later started splitting. By the time the latest member of the family was born, the group had remained with only nine individuals and the addition of the infant makes them 10 currently. The mother of the baby, Kabagyenyi joined Nshongi family when she was a semi-adult about five years back. Leading silverback Bweza, the head of the family later started mating with Kabagyenyi and eventually she became pregnant leading to the birth her first baby. Kabagyenyi is estimated to be around 10 years old.
About Muyambi Gorilla group
Muyambi is the latest habituated gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and was opened to tourism in 2019. So far, Muyambi group has the lowest number of gorillas in the park with just six individuals. The mother of the new infant is still unnamed and joined the group from the wild. Muyambi, the leading silverback of the group formed his own family after splitting from the Mubare group as an adult member.
UWA said that the birth of the new mountain gorillas is a testimony to Uganda’s successful conservation efforts. The authority added that the enhanced integrity of protected areas has led to a general increase in the Uganda’s wildlife population.
Other gorilla groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
There are about 15 habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and they include; Nkuringo gorilla group, Mishaya gorilla group, Orugozo gorilla group, Mubare gorilla group, Habinyanja gorilla group, Rushegura gorilla group, and Bitukura gorilla group. Others include Kyaguriro gorilla group, Kahugye gorilla group, Bweza gorilla group and Busingye gorilla group.
The population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The recent mountain gorilla population census in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park indicated that there are 459 individual gorillas in the park. some of these gorillas belong to the habituated groups that are visited by tourists while others are still wild. Currently, the global population of mountain gorillas is around 1,063 individuals.
Mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains
The rest of the mountain gorillas live in the 3 parks of the Virunga Massif which include Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Together, these 3 national parks have a combined mountain gorilla population of 604 individuals.
These statistics indicate that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwestern Uganda has got the highest population of mountain gorillas in the world. Indeed, the presence of mountain gorillas in Bwindi in relatively large numbers has led to park being known for gorilla safaris than any other kind of tourist activity. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi attracts the highest number of tourists in Uganda more than any other tourist attraction in the country.
The combined advantage of having a large population of mountain gorillas and a relatively cheap gorilla trekking permit (at $600 per person) makes Bwindi one of favourite gorilla trekking destinations in the world.