Category: Gorilla News

Lowland gorillas, volcanoes and more in Kahuzi Biega Park – DRC

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The vast majority trust that tourism in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is just about the mountain gorillas. I used to believe that as well, owing to a severe advertising and reputation these primates have gotten, especially in Rwanda and the Virunga in general. But being with hope of starting a tour company this year, I had to find out everything by myself and my trip to DRC opened my eyes to some of the hidden gem DRC offers.

In the eastern part of DRC on the western bank of Lake Kivu situated the Kahuzi Biega National Park one of those hidden treasure of this unstable country. This is a tourist destination that has been less visited, mostly inferable from DRC’s notoriety for being a conflict ridden nation. In any case, the national park offers an amazing adventure experience in a peaceful environment to sightseers and travelers alike as I as of late discovered.

I traveled with more 2 friends and when we reached at the headquarters of the park, we got a guide told us Kahuzi Biega National Park was set up in 1970. It covers a total land area of 600,000 square kilometers, and is found in the eastern part of DRC in Bukavu Town on the Rwandan border.

The national park vegetation cover is swamps, marshlands, lowlands, bogs and tropical rainforests. These support an assorted variety of wildlife and bird species in the national park. We enjoyed all these when we travelled to this park. Booking for a safari to Kahuzi Biega National Park can be made in advance through any reputable tour company orperating in the country like African Jungle Adventures Ltd, Virunga Community Programs or some other companies operating in DRC.

Locals in DRC were friendly and welcoming, particularly when you address them in Swahili.

Lowland gorilla trekking
Kahuzi Biega National Park harbors the biggest species of the eastern lowland gorillas in the entire world. It has thus turn into a best tourist destination for lowland gorilla safaris. Gorilla trekking normally involves hiking in the tropical rainforest and tracking different trails, depending on where the gorilla group spent their previous night.

The tracking time before you meet the gorillas may go from 30 minutes to 8 hours in the thick jungle. Nonetheless, you are allowed a maximum of one hour to interact with the gorillas after reaching them; taking in their behaviors, observing them as they do their daily activities . This hour will spend in the presence of these amazing animals will provide you with a lifetime experience to tell.

Bird Watching
The national park being home to around 342 different bird species and 42 of them are endemic to the national park. This is a good reason why the park is a destination for bird lovers. Among the feathered creatures you are probably going to spot here incorporate Yellow Crested Helmet-Shrike, African Green Broad Bill and the Congo Peafowl and many others.

Volcano Hiking
Your trip to this park may get more interesting since Kahuzi Biega isn’t just about the lowland gorilla trekking. Climbing is a most loved activities to numerous as I discovered here. There are pair of dormant volcanic mountains found within the park you can climb. Mount Kahuzi is the most elevated at 3,308m above sea level while Mount Biega, the smaller of the two stands at 2,790m over the sea level.

The summits of these two mountains give a bird eye’s view of the whole national park, the wildlife, the neighboring communities and nations. Besides, bamboo and subalpine vegetation that is home to different cover these two volcanoes. This gives the tourists an opportunity to encounter diverse animals like owl-faced monkeys in addition to an assortment of birds.

Nature Walks
Tourists here can follow various trails in this tropical rainforest to different tourism sites. The trails prompt different destinations, for example, the Chibati waterfalls and three different waterfalls found in the national park. Experienced guides will lead you in spotting different types of vegetation and wildlife in this national park. Nature here is at its flawless with tourists able to hear the sounds of singing birds up the trees and the cool air to freshen the brain of the tired visitor. When you leave from the park, you’ll have a clear mind and more knowledge about wildlife in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and a tour to this stunning park is a memorable one to enjoy.

Uganda Tour Operators Oppose Purchase of Gorilla Permits Online

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While Ugandans tend to be encouraged to modernize tourism in a bid to upgrade the country’s untapped however potential sector, tour operators are challenging the buy of gorilla permits online saying that it will abandon them with no business.

In a July first letter to President Yoweri Museveni, the chairman of the tour operators’ association Boniface Byamukama requested him to stop Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) from going ahead with their arrangement to make the permits accessed online.

Byamukama contends that if the buy of the grants is put on the online, tour operators from different nations can purchase straightforwardly from Uganda Wildlife Authority which will run the local tour operators out of business. He told local media that if Uganda Wildlife Authority runs ahead with that plan, the tour operators will be rendered superfluous and many of them will remain unemployed.

Byamukama suggests that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) puts the permits online just for illustration purposes however leave the transaction to the operators.

UWA executive director Andrew Seguya says anyway that there is no foundation for alarm. He says that the tour agents will stay in the business in light of the fact that not all the vacationers can access services on the online. He includes that even voyagers who buy gorilla trekking permits online will require the tour operators’ other services like transportation. He said that airline travel agencies and accommodation operators have not used up business yet an individual can purchase an air ticket or book a lodge room on online.

Seguya wondered why Byamukama has not raised the matter to the board where he is a member as a substitute for taking it to the president. He said the President might not stop the arrangement in light of the fact that it might be against what he advocates for saying that the Finance Minister has said it several times in the budget speech that tourism needs to be marketed on the web.

Tracking Gorillas and other wildlife in Uganda and Rwanda

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After reading deeply of nature documentaries one summer, my wife and I chose that we wanted to go not to Malaysia or Brazil, as we had been planning, for holiday, but to the wilds of Africa, where we could see the great outdoors populated by animals in relative purity.

gorilla-tours

It was something of a daunting idea: neither of us had been to Africa before, and neither of us knew anyone who had! But we went online and did our research. On the Internet, we found one company that offered excellent Rwanda safaris. So we booked a trip and soon were on our way!

The safari itself was amazing, a smorgasbord of all kinds of animals, from the very small to the very, very large. The places we stayed were comfortable, and we loved the intelligent, kind guides who dealt with all of our annoying requests and questions. Now, we are telling our friends to go!

The highlight for our Rwanda safari was gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park! Though the trek was very strenuous to me and some of our group members, thrill of encountering these gentle giants was worth the effort! It erased all the poor memories we through while searching for them.

Who ever goes for Rwanda safaris especially with gorilla tracking should carry some gloves to cover your from nettles, insect repellent, rain jacket, long sleeves shirts or blouse, long pants and bottled mineral water. You can also carry some snacks because the trekking time is not predictable! It can take the whole day depending to which gorilla group you are tracking. What is most important is the gorilla pass, that gives you permission to take a guided forest walk / hike in search for gorillas. Rwanda gorilla permits cost US dollars 750, while Uganda permits cost US dollars 600 each, and the number of permits available per day is limited. Each gorilla group is visited by a maximum of 8 persons per day.

During our gorilla trek in Rwanda, our park guide shared with us a story about a story of some Germans who went for Susa group and came back at 10pm towards Mid night. Susa gorilla group is biggest and farthest in Rwanda. On that day, Susa group was at very high altitude at 3000 meters above sea level. These Germans were warned by they insisted and went for this group. Helicopters were in place to ensure that the clients are safe until they came back. From our gorilla safari in Rwanda and Uganda, I must say that everyone should go gorilla trekking before you die. It’s a must do adventure activity.

Five travel photography essentials that won’t weigh you down

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Some of your best travel pictures will be off the cuff, spontaneous affairs, but taking a few basic pieces of kit – like a tripod, zoom lens, polarizer and Gorilla Pod grip – can ensure you’re ready to make the most of a golden opportunity. Here’s a round-up of the best photography kit to sling in your day pack.

1. Compact cameras

Don’t listen to the old school purists – these days getting the shot is more important than the pedigree of camera you use, be it an iPhone or handy compact. Some photo opps require a quick draw, and SLRs (though professional) can be clunky and awkward to locate in an instant. By the time you’ve screwed on the right lens, your chosen subject has moved on.

This shot was taken in the Greek Islands with a Panasonic Lumix compact camera. With Zakynthos receding in the distance, there was a perfect blue sky garlanded with a low belt of clouds, and a rich navy sea contrasting with the crow-black garb of an orthodox priest and nun. To achieve this picture I quickly reeled off three or four shots with an ISO setting of 200 to compensate for the brilliance of the rising sun, using a shutter speed of about 1/400th of a second. Once I returned to the UK I cropped the shot slightly on my Mac to personalize the two central figures.

2. Mini-tripod

For close-ups that require steadiness beyond the capability of a human hand a tripod is your best friend. This shot of freshly caught octopus on Nisyros captures the essence of the Greek Islands: fishing and the sea. The close-up catches the alien succulence of the tentacles by using the bracketing function on my Nikon D3100, which takes several shots of the same subject using different camera settings. I’ve concentrated the focus on just the right side of the frame to make it more interesting. The tentacles weren’t going anywhere so I had plenty of time to frame the shot with a fine focus and used the timer function so the camera wouldn’t shake when I pressed the button. Portable and lightweight, for long exposures at night or in low light conditions or finely detailed shots like this, a tripod is essential.

3. Watch the magic

Don’t underestimate the power of the humble wristwatch – it enables you to time your activity to coincide with the day’s optimum lighting. Pictures taken just after dawn, before the sun starts to dominate the sky and over-expose everything in its glare, capture subjects in a softer light, coating buildings in amber hues and deepening an image with contrasting shadows. Nature provides the photographer with a second opportunity to catch something they didn’t manage to get out of bed for in the form of a ‘magic hour’ before dusk. Light at this time of the day is often honey-tinted, lengthening shadows and adding texture. Sea glare from overhead sunlight, as in this shot of Lake Malawi, is also not a problem as the light of the sun in early morning and the magic hour is horizontally angled. So set your alarm or be prepared to wait for the late afternoon sun to achieve shots you’ll be proud of in years to come.

4. Zoom lens & SLR polarizer

Photographers tell you to beware working with two things: kids and animals. Both are prone to moving impulsively and have better things to do than play to your lens. This shot – taken on a beach close to where Richard Burton filmed Night of The Iguana – includes both. The iguana was being allowed a dip by its owner, while the little girl, my splash of background colour, was busy with her bucket. I waited for the two to converge and, in order not to spook the iguana, used a zoom lens fixed low to the ground on a tripod. This allowed me to go right up close to catch its beautiful scales. If your zoom has an image stabilization or vibration reduction switch, make sure it’s on, and for animal shots with a zoom always employ a tripod.

My other essential piece of kit in this shot is a polarizer. Costing around US$45, this essential bit of kit screws on to your SLR lens and does a great job of nullifying sun glare on objects, reflections and water, and deepening colours, particularly blues. The brilliance of the Mexican sky here is thanks to the polarizer, plus its colour-saturating effect on the vivid orange of the girl’s bucket. It was shot around midday and the polarizer allowed me to enhance the blue of the sky and deepen the contrast with the colour of the lizard, as well as add sharpness to its scales.

5. Multi-shot mode and Gorilla Pod grip

Any compact or SLR camera worth its salt will have a ‘sports’ mode or multi-shot feature. The former allows you to shoot with a fast film speed to capture quick moving subjects that would otherwise be blurred, while the latter lets you take a few pictures per second, thus maximizing your chances of getting a decent one. The shot below was taken in the ancient city of Luang Prabang in Laos. The temple and the boy playing with a rattan football was taken using a Gorilla Pod about US$20) attached to a low-lying frangipani branch. The light was fading so I whacked up the film speed on my compact, and used multi-shot mode to get a sense of the ball in motion.

Gorilla News: About Gorillas in Africa

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Toward the end of November, bamboo in the lower areas of Volcanoes National Park began to diminish, indicating the end of the current bamboo season, so the gorilla groups monitored by the Fossey Fund made fewer treks out of the park to get this favored food. However, there was still a lot of activity among the groups, including a major interaction between two groups and a medical intervention to help an ailing female gorilla, in cooperation with veterinarians from the Gorilla Doctors and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), which oversees park management.

Intense interaction leads to more transfers

In early December, our trackers found evidence of a major interaction between Isabukuru’s group and Gushimira’s group, and witnessed many of the resulting events. The initial interaction was judged to have been very intense, taking place overnight and leaving two of the silverbacks, Gushimira and Kubaha (who is in Isabukuru’s group), with injuries. The next morning when our trackers arrived, they could see that two females had transferred to Isabukuru’s group. Displays continued for many hours, with Gushimira clearly avoiding Isabukuru, and the two females trying to follow Gushimira’s trail but being stopped by Isabukuru and Kubaha standing in front.

With this latest transfer, there are now four females who have recently transferred to Isabukuru’s group, confirming it as the most successful group among those we currently monitor. Its male-female ratio is impressive, with nine females and only one other silverback, Kubaha. We have since observed frequent physical fights between Isabukuru and Kubaha and are very curious to see how the group will adjust with the two new females. We suspect that silverback Kubaha, who has been peripheral and subordinate since the group was formed in 2007, is gaining confidence and challenging Isabukuru for access to the females.

Medical intervention helps female gorilla

On Nov. 20, our trackers reported that 8-year-old female gorilla Izihirwa (from Musilikale’s group) was very weak, not feeding and staying on her night nest. A medical intervention was organized, with veterinarians from Gorilla Doctors and RDB, along with a select group of experienced Fossey Fund trackers and researchers and scientists.

When the team arrived, Izihirwa hid in a dense bamboo patch and stayed there for several hours. The team then decided to intervene, even though visibility was poor in all respects as it was also rainy and dark. The anesthetization and exam process went well, and Izihirwa was given antibiotics and fluids. Blood and other routine samples were obtained for later analysis.

Silverback Musilikale acted tough during the intervention. He charged and screamed at our trackers the whole time, but they did a great job chasing him away. When Izihirwa woke up from the anesthesia, staff moved away to avoid stressing her further. Her group was nearby.

The next morning she was still weak, but clearly improved. She ate a bit and her stomach seemed to be half full. In subsequent days she still seemed weak but trackers and medical staff agreed that no further intervention was warranted. The Gorilla Doctors’ analysis concluded that Izihirwa probably had a bacterial infection, of unknown origin.

Infant Mortality in Mountain Gorillas in the mist

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As a critically endangered species, the health of each mountain gorilla is integral in assessing their long term survival in the Virunga Massif. When possible, the Gorilla Doctors conduct post-mortem exams on every deceased individual of the 19 habituated groups in Volcanoes National Park where all gorilla safaris in Rwanda take place. Whether it is a tiny infant or a massive silverback, the body is carried down the steep slopes of the park and transported to the Gorilla Doctors headquarters in Musanze, Rwanda, where a complete necropsy is completed by our veterinarians. The painstakingly thorough process of a gorilla necropsy can last anywhere from 6-10 hours, where the vets will methodically collect samples, examine, measure and weigh every organ, as well as look for any internal injuries or signs of disease.

Unsurprisingly, the Gorilla Doctors have amassed a mountain of records containing post-mortem exam notes over the last 25+ years of work with mountain and Grauer’s gorillas. This has created a unique resource for Masters Student and veterinarian James Hassell, who is currently looking at the gross and histopathological necropsy records of infants (from birth to 3.5 years of age), investigating causes of death and disease over time.

According to Dr. Hassell, “infants form a particularly important age group, the variation in which may have a strong influence on population dynamics”. From the Gorilla Doctors‘(formerly Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project) inception in 1986 to 2013, over one hundred deceased infants have been examined for cause of death. Trauma is the clear front runner for infant mortality at 47%, while respiratory infections have claimed 15% of infant lives. Illnesses found that could have contributed to cause of death in mountain gorilla infants are gastrointestinal parasitism (15%), lymphoid disease (11%) and hepatic capillaries (9%).

Beyond pinpointing the cause of death, “necropsy results help us to direct our work and learn which diseases we should concentrate on” says Gorilla Doctors director Dr. Mike Cranfield. “It also tells us “incidental findings” which, although subtle, can reveal genetic, environmental or minor health problems. We look for patterns of death with season and over time to be as effective as possible.”

Hassell is completing his MSc in Wild Animal Health at the Royal Veterinary College / Zoological Society of London. This is his second stay at our Musanze, Rwanda headquarters. In 2011, as he was finishing his Bachelor of Science and Veterinary Medicine degree, he spent 8 weeks in Rwanda studying disease transfer between cattle, buffalo, and the mountain gorillas in and around Volcanoes National Park. “Having the opportunity to work with the Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda for the second time has been a great privilege for me.”

Hassell’s experience is diverse, having assisted with wild orangutan research in Borneo, research on predator-prey interactions in South Africa, and working in various veterinary hospitals and clinics in Great Britain. But his experience working with mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s forests “will always be the most memorable”.

“Being based at the Gorilla Doctors headquarters in Musanze has given me the opportunity to discuss the project with the veterinarians who have been responsible for collecting this data over the years, providing insight that otherwise wouldn’t have been available” says Hassell. “Some of the reports that I have been looking at date back to the very beginning of the Gorilla Doctors operations; it’s amazing to see how far the organization has come since then.”

8 day Uganda Adventure Reviews

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Looking for memorable and life time adventure experience in Africa, look no further, Uganda has a lot to offer to you. This is land locked country endowed with very many tourist attractions ranging from fresh water bodies, Impenetrable tropical rain forests to savannah wood land and grassland! Uganda is the only country in the whole world where you can see the Big five animals and track the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The big five animals include The African elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.

We explored this pearl of Africa on an 8 day Uganda gorilla safari and wildlife adventure package organized by Gorilla Expeditions Limited. These are not only gorilla specialists but also offer Chimpanzee tracking adventures, wildlife viewing, mountain climbing adventures, community tours, fantastic boat cruise and many others, offered to group travelers, business travelers, students, couples and honeymooners. The length of the trip depends on your budget, interests, and time.

Uganda gorilla safariOur safari was for 8 days / 7 nights, we started with Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National park, located western part of Uganda. Kibale national park is a home to 13 primate species, regarded to be the highest concentration in Africa. These include olive baboons, chimpanzees, grey checked mangabeys, red tailed monkeys and velvet monkeys among others. Here we stayed at Kyaninga lodge, very luxurious and beautiful.

Another destination we visited was Queen Elizabeth national park where we had a fantastic boat cruise along the Kazinga channel, famous for the highest concentration of Hippos in Africa. We also enjoyed a fantastic game drive in search for some of the Big five animals like the leopard, lion, elephants, buffaloes. Rhinos in Uganda are only found in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary on your way to Murchison falls national park. We also enjoyed another game drive in the Ishasha sector, a home for tree climbing lions, located in southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park. While in Queen Elizabeth, we stayed at Katara lodge.

Our final destination was bwindi impenetrable national park where we had 2 gorilla treks. We tracked Habinyanja gorilla group in Buhoma area and Oruzogo group in Ruhija area. While in Bwindi national park, we stayed at Mahogany springs lodge in buhoma and Gorilla Mist Camp in Ruhija. Finally we had a memorable moment at lake Bunyonyi, very beautiful and the best place to relax in Uganda! We had a canoe ride to different islands where we visited the batwa communities. On our way back, we stopped at the Equator and we experienced being in both hemispheres. many Thanks to Gorilla Expeditions limited, specialists in luxury and budget camping Uganda safaris, they for having organized such a wonderful trip at very affordable price.

 

While on your gorilla trekking safari hire a porter

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When you are planning for the real African adventurous safari chose the trekking of the mountain gorillas in the mist, mountain gorillas can be found in 4 national parks that is Bwindi impenetrable national park and the Mgahinga Gorilla park which are governed by the Uganda the pearl of Africa and gifted by nature, Parc volcanoes national park which lies in Rwanda well known as the thousand hills and the smallest region in Africa, then the Virunga Gorilla park that borders Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Then, before you take choice to go in Africa to trek the mountain gorillas, there are several precautions that you have to undergo, like the health vaccination is a must for everyone interested to see the gorillas that has to take as you will be examined whether you are free to see gorillas and you do not cause disease spread to the mountain gorillas.

After that you have to be above 15 years old, fit enough and adventurous reason being no one can predict where the mountain gorillas could at that time of your travel, but for old people this not to discourage to come and see mountain gorillas, no the park guides after research have found out that there some groups that do not move so much as there are also old and this one is eligible for fellow old guys and incase in a point on the Uganda side it the Mubare group that can be tracked from the Buhoma side.

After, knowing all that information go ahead to arrange with your service provider to purchase your permit which is advised to do before 3 month to time of travel, as the permits can be out of stork and each group is visited by 8 people per day and it is not allowed more 8 clients to visit the mountain gorillas as it may sabotage the carrying capacity of the area where these primates find their life in convenient manner and save for the future!

More so, when you are done with your logistics and ready to travel to Africa carry with you your necessities required before you enter the rain tropical forest to see mountain gorillas and among them includes the walkable shoes, rain gears, trousers and long sleeved shirts, hut, sun screen, insect repellent and do not leave your camera to take your unforgettable photographs and videos for your memories when back home.

Then on your starting day of gorilla trekking, hire a porter to help you carry your bags and in another way you reduce unemployment to the local living near the gorillas and more encouraging them to save the mountain gorillas and the habitat of the mountain gorillas. Therefore, as you plan for your budget or luxury gorilla safari in African next summer, consider hiring porters to enable you trek gorillas successfully!

Possibilities of Taking a One Day Gorilla Trip in Rwanda

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1 day gorilla trekMany tourists are always wondering whether it’s possible to trek gorillas in Rwanda on a one day tour plan. You can arrange your safari through a tour and travel operator or not and you organize it your self, yet would recommend booking through a travel agent as its more convenient. Your gorilla trekking permit need to have been bought early enough as they are oh high demand and get finished quickly.

A one day gorilla trek requires the guest to be in Kinigi by as unanticipated as 7:00am which require the guest to begin the journey by 4:30am in the morning and journey is only 2hours from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park the home to the endangered mountain gorillas. You need to drive in a 4X4 safari vehicle to drive up to the trail head where the briefing takes place. In spite of the fact that it’s also important to overnight in Kinigi the night before the gorilla trek because a long nights rest is required since some times the trek is extremely tiresome, additionally you may get a strenuous gorilla group to track e.g. Susa could be far away and you could spend all the day trekking. Furthermore visitors tend to want to go straight for shower after the trek so that’s why you almost do a 2-night stay around Volcanoes National Park. You could request a group near to the national park and if you got lucky, you could be back in Kigali that evening / afternoon. The inconvenience is if you don’t – the gorillas can move and make the tracking time unpredictable.

In any case yes, you can do it freely however it isn’t really done as a day trip from Kigali because of the factors outlined above e.g. early start (imagine a scenario in which you get flat tyre?), not assigned group until you’re there so no guarantee of a nearby group, when you get wet or have a tiresome trek, you presumably would need to get showered and changed fairly quickly.

Yes after putting all the illustrated risks in maid, tourists can do a one day gorilla trek in Rwanda, and we have had numerous clients effectively track gorillas for one day at a good deal in terms of cost.

A 3 day gorilla safari Uganda can need about $2500 for a one traveler $1000 for every individual for group travelers, price comprehensive of gorilla permit, 4X4 safari vehicle and an English speaking tour guide. This is quite a good deal for tourists with restricted time however must track the amazing mountain gorillas.

Solitary mountain gorilla forms new group

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silverback-mafunzo
Silverback Mafunzo – Volcanoes National Park

While tracking one of the regularly followed mountain gorilla groups on Jan. 27, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund trackers encountered a new group consisting of two females and one silverback gorilla, in the Bikereri area. They immediately recognized one of the gorillas as 14-year-old female Taraja, who was last seen with silverback Giraneza in late September. The silverback turned out to be Mafunzo, who was last seen on Sept. 4, 2013, when he interacted with Giraneza’s group and tried to obtain Taraja. He failed in this attempt and she was still with Giraneza when last seen.

As for the other female, field staff surmised it could be one of three females not seen in some time: Umusatsi, who was not seen since May 2013; Kanama, who was last seen in December; or even Shangaza, who was last seen in late January.

The right answer turned out to be Umusatsi, who was thought to be traveling alone for a long time, so this is good news. She appeared to be a bit more relaxed around human observers this time, but still vocalized with loud pig grunts.

Other groups seen after absences

On Feb. 10, Fossey Fund trackers finally saw all the gorillas of Isabukuru’s group, which had not been amenable to human observation since December, when one of its young members (Icyororo) was injured during a group interaction and a medical intervention in conjunction with Gorilla Doctors was undertaken to address significant injuries to his foot. After these stressful events, the group’s silverback, Isabukuru, began showing aggression toward the trackers and this prevented close follow-up for some time. Trackers reported that now Icyoro’s foot seems healed and that he was moving normally and seems to have recovered. However, more observation is needed and silverback Isabukuru is still showing aggression toward the trackers.

On Feb. 12, trackers reunited with Gushimira’s group, which had not been seen since Dec. 26. The group was encountered by chance, while Fossey Fund trackers were following traces from a big interaction site involving Kuryama’s group. One female, Ukuri, joined Gushimira as a result of the interaction. The other Gushimira female, Kanama, appeared to be fine, along with her infant.

However, Kuryama’s group had split into two, with four gorillas following “beta” male Vuba. The group was on top of Mt. Visoke, which makes searching very difficult. Fossey Fund trackers were joined by anti-poaching teams and local defense workers to create two extra teams – one for Vuba’s group and one for Gushimira’s group, since there were now 11 groups to follow, but by the next day, Kuryama’s group had reunited. This group and many of the others were traveling in very distant locations but generally doing fine.