June 7, 2011
On May 27th, a mountain gorilla named Ruvumu gave birth to twins in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Not only is this a rare occurrence, it marks a small success for these endangered species whose total population count is less than 800.
Mountain gorillas inhabit two regions in the world about 30 miles apart: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the Virungas region, which includes Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hundreds of tourists trek through the mountains of these national parks each year to observe mountain gorillas, which live in groups of about 11 members. Each group consists of a silverback dominant male(s), named for the thick, silver hair found on their backs upon maturation; younger black-back males; females and their offspring.
While it is true that dominant males – who weigh in at 350 lbs. and can stand at an intimidating 6 feet tall – will fight one another to the death in order to protect their groups, mountain gorillas are actually shy and docile animals. Observing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat has proven to be a very special encounter for those lucky enough to experience it.
Our guests were some of the lucky few to do so. Following their Thomson Safari through northern Tanzania, Deborah, Stephen and Rebekah Yurco continued on a Thomson gorilla trekking extension to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. During their trek, they were very fortunate to find Ruvumu, who had delivered her twins just 3 days earlier. Deborah shares the details of her memorable sighting:
“We learned upon our arrival in Rwanda that twin baby gorillas had just arrived for the impressive band known as the Susa Group. With three silverbacks and 6 yr old twins already a part of this family, we didn’t care how far nor how hard we had to climb; we only knew that we had to get there to see these unique creatures for ourselves. Two and half hours and 3000 feet later, we received our reward. Close up and personal views of these precious babies!”
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