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KIGALI – Eleven members of the Hirwa group of mountain gorillas that crossed over to Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National park on August 29, 2019 has returned back to Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has announced.
In a statement on Saturday, April 25, the RDB said Hirwa family was sighted and identified by gorilla trackers in Volcanoes National Park on 15th April 2020.
“Eleven (11) members of the family of seventeen (17) that crossed over to Uganda returned. Unfortunately, four (4) of the members were reported to have died from a lightning strike on 3rd February 2020 while two (2) succumbed to intestinal obstruction and respiratory infection respectively,” a statement from RDB read in part.
The RDB also revealed that an infant born in January 2020, in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park had passed away due to intestinal obstruction of the colon.
Locally translated as “lucky one” Hirwa gorilla family broke off from Susa Group. This happened after Munyanga silverback decided to leave Susa family to start his own group.
Africa Tembelea understands that Munyanga left with some female adults and babies starting up his own family which expanded slowly through the birth of new babies including a set of twins.
This gorilla family (Hirwa) is among many other mountain gorilla families that range within the Virunga Massif ecosystem, which is comprised of three regional parks: Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Movement of gorillas within the massif is a regular occurrence. Reasons for cross border movements include seasonal food availability as well as the interaction between various groups. Inter-group competition for food and reproduction are also significant factors determining gorilla home range changes over time.