Rushaga gorilla sector is one of the four gorilla sectors found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This gorilla sector is located in the southern part of the park situated in both Nkuringo and Kisoro districts. The Rushaga gorilla sector is a haven to seven mountain gorilla families with five dully habituated gorilla families and the other two undergoing habituation. Therefore, this is the only gorilla sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where one can have the gorilla habituation experience that allows one to spend up to four unimaginable hours with the gorillas unlike the one hour spent with them during gorilla trekking. The Rushaga gorilla sector offers great and spectacular views of Lake Mutanda, Lake Bunyonyi and the Virunga mountains. The habituated gorilla families that are found in the Rushaga sector include the following;

Nshongi gorilla family. This gorilla family was named after a river where this group was first sighted with in the Rushaga sector. The word Nshongi was obtained from a local Rukiga phrase “Omushongi gwo’boki” meaning honey and they looked at the River’s dark color that was relatively bright resembling honey. The dominant silverback by then was also named Nshongi. This was one of the largest family to be habituated in the Rushaga sector comprising of 36individauls though its numbers kept on destabilizing due to death of some members as others left the group while new members joined the family. This gorilla family was made available for trekking in 2009 though it split in 2010 forming the Mishaya gorilla group. Nshongi gorilla family was left with 26 members as the Mishaya silverback walked away with 9 individuals. This gorilla family is so unique because it was led by a young silver back by then and comprised of five silverbacks and black backs that always lived in harmony.

Muchunguzi gorilla family. This gorilla group derives its name from a dominant silverback known as Muchunguzi that was part of the Bweza gorilla group. Muchunguzi is a local word that means “savior”. Muchunguzi silverback was the third youngest silverback gorilla and third in command by the time he was chased away and left isolated after a fight that occurred between him and a dominant silverback in Bweza gorilla group. Muchunguzi silverback later on invaded Bikingi gorilla family fighting the family head and took away some females with him to start up a family with him. By then it had 8 members with females dominating the family and currently expanded to 12 members.

Rwigi gorilla family. This is a newly habituated gorilla family in the Rushaga sector that broke away from the Kahungye gorilla family. Its name was derived from a silverback known as Rwigi that was initially one of the three silverbacks in Kahungye gorilla group. After misunderstandings between Rwigi and other silverbacks, he decided to start up his own family by fighting hard to walk away with some females and juveniles who are now part of his family known as the Rwigi gorilla family. This gorilla family consists of 10 members with one silverback, five females, two juveniles and two infants.

Busingye gorilla family. This gorilla family’s name was derived from a silverback gorilla known as Busingye silverback that split from Kahungye gorilla family to start up his own family. The local phrase “Busingye” means peace although this silverback is fond of fighting other silverbacks from other gorilla groups in an attempt to grab members to add up to his family as well as fighting to protect his family members from other wild gorillas. Therefore this gorilla family was made readily available for trekking by August 2012 in the Rushaga sector comprising of nine members made up of one silverback, five black backs and three infants.

Mishaya gorilla family. This is another gorilla family found in the Rushaga sector made up of seven members though they are subjected to changes due to deaths, new births as well as other members joining the family and others quitting the family. The Mishaya gorilla family is a break away from the Nshongi gorilla family. The Mishaya silverback was part of the silverbacks in the Nshongi gorilla family but decided to break away with some members to form his own family in 2011. Therefore the family name is derived from the head of the group known as the Mishaya silverback that is also a dominant fighter evidenced by his battles with other wild gorillas and other gorilla families in an attempt to gather females to his family. Unfortunately on 3rd February 2014, Mishaya was found dead by the park rangers with the cause of his death unknown up to date. He died aged 28 years with no signs of illness and injuries. This gorilla family is currently led by a silverback known as Mwine. Other members of the family include Rutaro, Mize, Bukunzi, Mwiza and four infants.

Bweza gorilla family. This is another gorilla family that resides in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park known as the Rushaga sector. The Bweza gorilla family was part of the Nshongi gorilla family that later split in 2012 due to increased rivalry amongst the family members and later habituated to be readily made available for trekking. This gorilla group is comprised of 12 members led by one dominant silverback known as Kakono. Other members of this family include one other silverback, three adult females, four black backs, one juvenile and two infants.

Bikingi gorilla family. This mountain gorilla family also calls the Rushaga sector its home. The Bikingi gorilla family is a break away from the Mishaya gorilla family and other unhabituated mountain gorillas by that time that were later habituated in 2012. Bikingi gorilla family’s name was derived from the Bikingi area in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where this gorilla family was first sighted. This gorilla family is composed of 15members with one silverback as the head, five adult females, two sub-adults, two juveniles and five infants.

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