Tourism in Rwanda is only complete when one mentions about the rare mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The park is a home to more than 380 mountain gorillas out of 900 that still thrive on earth. Following the news that circulated earlier this year about the disappearance and death of Cantsbee silverback gorilla, it has been sighted that his gorilla family has currently experienced a lot of changes. Cantsbee’s group was initially the most populous gorilla family ever that comprised of more than 65 unique mountain gorillas and it has been monitored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund since its creation in 1993. This enormous gorilla group was led by Cantsbee silverback gorilla, one of the oldest silverback mountain gorillas at that time in Volcanoes National Park.
Cantsbee was not only a charismatic mountain gorilla silverback but also such a strong, caring, loving and humble leader that one would imagine. He helped to bring up Gicurasi-his son at a time when the mother left the family while he was still at his young stage. Months later it was sad that he died at 38 years almost beyond the life expectancy of mountain gorillas in the wild. The legendary mountain gorilla silverback Cantsbee silverback got missing from the Pablo family on 10th October, 2016 but returned on 4th January. Shortly after his return, Cantsbee started feeling weak and also never ate as he used to do in the previous days and on 12th May, he again went missing. The legendary Cantsbee silverback originated from the native family (Pablo group), the famous gorilla family that was named by the great primatologist “Dian Fossey” and it is still researched by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Later on, his gorilla family broke into 2 groups; one that is currently led by “Kureba” silverback 18 years old, one of the younger silverback gorillas. Kureba’s group is the “new” gorilla family so far in Volcanoes National Park. The second group is led by Gicurasi silverback, 22 years and it is composed of about 23 mountain gorillas. Kureba’s new gorilla group was formed on 14th June 2017. Its formation in Volcanoes National Park is good news for gorilla safari holidays in Volcanoes National Park as it offers more opportunities for more gorilla groups to be habituated. Gorilla tourism in any gorilla destination is best done in habituated gorilla families!!
Silverback Kureba’s newly created gorilla family is comprised of the younger silverback Ishavu, female gorilla Mudakama with her 2 offspring and female Ishyaka gorilla and her infant. Like any new gorilla family, changes are never avoidable. Kureba’s new gorilla family also experienced some hardships at the time of its creation. At first, Mudakama and her 2 offspring aged between 7 and 4 years, also split and moved independently for about 3 week’s time. During this moment, trackers were all astonished to sight at Kureba silverback leave the entire newly formed family and reappear just a few days after with Mudakama and her 2 offspring. As a responsible leader, Kureba must have gone searching for his members and lucky enough he managed to bring them back to his new family.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund trackers are currently following Kureba’s family each day, in addition to 8 (eight) other gorilla families. However, Kureba’s newly created gorilla family still remains the most debated issue as many trackers are not sure if this is really a permanent break or one day they may reunite with the bigger Pablo family. But the advantage with the 2 gorilla families is that they are far away from one another and it gives them higher chances of staying independently for a longer time. When gorilla families break or form in a similar way, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund experiences a logistical challenge, re-organizing gorilla trackers and other staff such that all the gorilla families and even the divided individuals are followed daily.
In conclusion, newly created gorilla groups in Volcanoes offer more opportunities for gorilla habituation in a destination and in a long run boost mountain gorilla safaris. Rwanda Volcanoes National Park is a home to 10 habituated gorilla families. Gorilla trekking is a life changing adventure and remarkable Rwanda is one of the most distinct and excellent gorilla safari destinations in the world that you shouldn’t miss to visit in life.