Congo Gorilla Families : The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries in Africa blessed with giant primate species particularly mountain gorillas. They are common in the magical Virunga national park, while Kahuzi Biega national park is home to the giant lowland gorillas.

Just like human beings, gorillas live in families, also known as groups headed by an adult male – silverback. The silverbacks can grow as old as the age of 50 years or above. Different gorillas reside in different sectors of the park, they behave differently which makes tourists appreciate the diversity in their behaviors of similar species while they do the gorilla trekking activities within the parks.

Currently, D.R. Congo has a total of eight (8) gorilla families, well habituated and available to receive visitors whole year round. Gorilla families usually trace their names from their leaders (silverbacks) and their area of location most of the times. They include the following;

Kabirizi family.

Located in Bukima area, Kabirizi family was named in memory of the former Director of the Congolese Institute of Conservation of nature whose death came as a result of a road accident. The leader of the family is also called Kabirizi – one of the humblest leaders within the region.

The family is made up of 19 members and was formerly led by Ndungutse who died in the battle between government soldiers and rebels who had replaced his father who died of old age in 1997 – Zunguruka. Masibo is likely to be the next leader since he is competing with Kabirizi.

Kabirizi family

Humba family.

Humba is settled in the Bukima sector of the park, Humba family is under the leadership of a silverback known as Humba who is a son to late Rugendo who was separated from the family in the year 1998. Humba is also a brother to Senkwekwe who was killed by gun men in 2007.

Before the family broke up in 2014, the family comprised of about 16 members but it currently consists of 6 members and the numbers are still increasing.

Humba gorilla family

Mapuwa family.

Situated at the border of Uganda and DRC at a place called Jomba, Mapuwa is named after the warrior silverback – Mapuwa who left his father with only two adult females and started his own family. He conquered other families such as that of Pilipili and increased his members. Mapuwa family currently comprises of 22 members.

Rugendo family.

Located in the Mikeno sector of the park, Rugendo family is under the leadership of Bukima though it is named after Rugendo. It is the oldest gorilla family in Congo and was habituated in 1989. The family comprises of nine members, three of whom are silverbacks, one is a black back, one adult female, two infants and two sub-adult females.

rugendo gorilla family

Bageni family.

Bageni is one of the recently habituated gorilla families in Congo and is made up about 26 members with two silverbacks by the names of Kitagenda and Kanamaharagi who are competing for leadership. The family is expected to split any time as it usually happens with big families.

Lulengo family.

Comprising of nine members, Lulengo family was formerly known as Musekura but was later renamed after the current leader Lulengo whose name originates from the former Technical Director of Virunga national park who was killed by a landmine.

Nyakamwe family.

This family is named after the leader silverback – Nyakamwe. It is also one of the most recently habituated gorilla families in Congo comprising of 11 members.

Munyaga gorilla family.

Located in the Bukima sector of the park, Munyaga is famous for its unique features such as a mother who gave birth to twins – Bilali (her babies died at infancy) and the bald-headed silverback known as Kadogo.

The current dominant silverback is Gasore but he is facing a lot of competition from other silverbacks.

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