Mishaya Gorilla Family

Mishaya gorilla family is one of the 21 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This gorilla group was part of the Nshongi gorilla family before it broke off to form its own family led by a sub-ordinate silverback known as the Mishaya silverback. Mishaya broke away from Nshongi family with 10 members to start his own family and he was famously known for his aggressive fights and interactions with other gorilla families for example Mishaya was known for his fights in 2010 with the wild gorillas where him and many of his family members sustained injuries and led to death of one of his infants. His fights were also aimed at grabbing and recruiting more female gorillas from other gorilla families to add to his own family. This dominant silverback gorilla later died on 3rd February 2014 at the age of 28 years just living half of the life span of mountain gorillas. After thorough research, results indicated that Mishaya had died due to a short illness caused by coiling of the intestines. Mishaya’s death forced his family members to join other gorilla families like Bikingi and Bweza since there was no adult male to lead the family by that time. In May 2018, Park rangers and other officials found out that Mishaya gorilla family had reformed under the leadership of a silverback known as Tinfayo that was once a member of the Nshongi gorilla family that he left in 2012 with an adult female called Shida and an infant called Rotary.

Location of the family

The Mishaya gorilla family is situated in the Rushaga sector which is one of the four gorilla sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Other sectors include Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo. Rushaga gorilla sector is found in the southern section of the Park known to harbor other gorilla families namely Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye, Bweza, Bikingi, Rwigi, Kutu and Mucunguzi.

Current family members

Mishaya gorilla family is currently comprised of 8 family members who are subjected to changes and fluctuations due to circumstances such as breakaways, new births and death of some gorilla members. These include one dominant male silverback, five adult females, one juveniles and one infant. Mishaya gorilla family members are described below;

Tinfayo the dominant silverback

Bakunzi the adult female

Biretwa the adult female

Shida an adult female

Mwiza the adult female

Mize an adult female

A juvenile

Rotary an infant




The Mishaya gorilla family is accessible all year round through gorilla trekking where one is supposed to be present at the Park headquarters for a briefing about the gorilla trekking dos and don’ts. Trekkers or visitors are the divided into groups of not more than 8 members after which they are led by ranger guides into Bwindi’s misty forests to encounter the Mishaya gorilla family in the Rushaga sector which is their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking of this gorilla group usually lasts for about 4 to 6 hours depending on their movements and having a sight on them, an hour is allowed amidst them as you closely watch them go by their daily routines such as feeding, nature the infants, paly more so for the infant gorillas to mention but a few.

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