Mubare Gorilla Group is found in the Buhoma region in the southern parts of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi National Park is one of the Mountain gorilla parks in Africa and it is separately situated away from other parks. Other parks which harbor the Mountain gorillas in Africa include the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, all the above mentioned three gorilla parks are found in the Virunga Mountains (famous with its eight ancient volcanic mountains). Bwindi Impenetrable is famous for its biodiversity, mountainous environment, and thick forests with tall trees that form a heavy layer of Canopies on top.
Bwindi is also home to the Mountain gorilla (about 480 primates) live in the park and are listed as critically endangered by the UICN. Bwindi has got a variety of Gorilla group’s classification with some lying in the southern sector whereas others lie in the northern sector. The northern sector has groups like Bitukura group, Oruzogo group, Rushega group, Habyinyanja group and Mubare group while the southern sector has groups like Nshongi group, Mishaya group and Nkuringo. This time round, we want take a close look at the Mubare gorilla group which lies in the northern sector of the park.
Mubare Gorilla Group
The group derived its name from the ‘Mubare hill’ where the group was first sighted and this is the first group to be habituated in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This group only had 12 members at the time it was opened up for tourists on 15th October 1991 and around 1996, the family members in this group had increased to a figure of 18 family members. The group officially received its first group of tourists on 13th October 1993.
Silverback Ruhondozo was the leader (Founder) of the Mubare group who died mysteriously in 2012, currently the group is composed of 12 members led by Silverback Kanyonyi with 6 adult females, 1 sub-adult (Teenagers) three infants. Silverback Ruhondozo not only fought off his rivals from other gorilla group for his family’s pride but also fought off and killed young males (Infanticide) who would seemingly threaten his position of leading the group.
Still in March/2012, Mubare suffered an attack from a wild inhabituated male gorilla which foresaw Silverback Ruhondozo out of the family because he was too old to fight for it. After the fight, Ruhondozo sought refuge in the nearby Rubona village. People in this village loved, took good care and protected him until his last days on earth.
Ruhondozo was buried near the park headquarters in Buhoma. After the fight, the group was torn apart resulting into the disappearance of some family members for example an adult female called “Bukumu” and 2 blackbacks disappeared and up to date are nowhere to be seen, this only left the group with only five members. During Ruhondozo’s leadership amongst the Mubare group, he so protective, caring and jealousy in a way that he couldn’t let anything happen to his family. Silverback Kanyonyi has tried to restore the pride of this group with him an increase in the group members has been registered through attacking other Gorilla groups.
Silverback Ruhondozo was given a descent burial by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the park officials are planning on constructing a monument on his grave yard for remembrance. He was buried at the Headquarters in Buhoma and grave yard can be shown to tourists who are trekking the Mubare gorilla group. This particular group always roams around the park headquarters and this is where it can easily be trekked.