Last week of September was Celebration in Virunga National Park as Gato a female mountain gorilla gave birth to twins. Gato, the Female mountain gorilla is part of Nyakamwe gorilla family that is found in Bukima area of Virunga park.
Mountain gorillas live in families ranging from 2 to 20 or more led by dominant male mountain gorillas called Silver-backs. The Nyakamwe gorilla family in Virunga National park is led by Silver-back Nyakamwe and has about 4 female mountain gorillas.
Nyakamwe gorilla family was formed by Silver-back Nyakamwe in 2014 after he conflicted with his brother Humba. Nyakamwe then decided to separate from Humba starting a new family though he left with 10 other gorillas.
With the birth of twins in the Nyakamwe family, the gorilla family numbers have definitely increased. Given that there are about 4 female gorillas in this family, we hope that there will be more births.
About Female Mountain Gorillas
Female Mountain gorillas usually move from their initial families at the age of 8. They do this to join another gorilla family or start one with a lone male mountain gorilla. After this female gorillas move to different new families several times before they finally settle down with a particular silver-back.
Female gorillas have a gestation period of 8.5 months very similar to human beings. In Virunga National park DRC, there many habituated gorilla families open for tourist visitation. In-case you are interested in visiting gorilla families with many females and infant gorillas inform your guide early enough.
A mountain gorilla trek in Virunga national park is very rewarding with sightings of the major mountains like Mount Nyiragongo. Ensure to book in advance as mountain gorilla permits easily get full booked.
Virunga national park is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and likely to open again early 2021. By the time it opens the twin baby gorillas birthed by Gato will have grown a bit. Infant mountain gorillas only leave their mothers at around 21 months spending most of their time away from them.
Mountain gorilla baby births has tremendously increased during lock-down in the Virunga Massif and Bwindi Impenetrable national park Uganda. Gorillas were born in Volcanoes NP Rwanda, and a gorilla baby boom in Bwindi with 5 births in 5 weeks.
While on a Safari to East Africa, don’t miss out on the mountain gorilla tracking experiences in any of the gorilla parks. Virunga National Park is highly recommended as you might meet Gato the female mountain gorilla mother of twins.