Today at an estimated 25 years of age, Mwirima is a magnificent male silverback in his prime. Mwirima is without question the most dominant figure within the Rushegura group. With no other adult males angling for the top spot, these are easy times for Mwirima. This is reflected by the baby boom that has occurred in the Rushegura group since its formation in 2003.
In January of 2005 two adult females of the group added their contributions to this ever expanding group. The two females differ some what in appearance as their names clearly suggest, Kibande meaning ‘very flat head’ and Karungyi meaning ‘the most beautiful’. The two infants are still waiting to be named which will happen during a naming ceremony organised by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority later on this year.
Kyirinvi is the oldest and most dominant female of the group at estimated 35 years of age. She is in fact Mwirima’s big sister (possibly 10 years his senior) and she left the Habinyanja group with him back in 2003. It was during this shift in the group that Kafuruka was born to Nyamunwa. Kafuruka is now 21/2 years old and has a play companion of a similar age called Nyampazi. The name Nyampazi meaning ‘ant’ was chosen because the group were busy feasting on ants when she was born.
The trackers report that the Rushegura infants are by far the most mischievous of all the gorilla groups in Bwindi. One youngster who must not go unmentioned is Ruterana a boisterous little 4 year old male who’s name aptly means ‘chaos’. Ruterana along with Nyampazi, Kafuruka and the two new additions to this group are not at all shy of visitors.
The guides report that the 5 youngsters will get very close to the tourists in order ‘to investigate and get a better look’, so both parties enjoy a good view. Just in case the little ones do get a bit too close for comfort they are kept under the watchful eye of Kalembezi. At 41/2 years Kalembezi ‘the babysitter’ is not adverse to the odd bout of mischief himself, although with a year on the younger infants Kalembezi (a juvenile) is some what more restrained, at times. This group like the Mubare group do not occupy a particularly large home range tending to stay in the vicinity of the park office and the waterfalls. On the whole the group are very calm around visitors and even the silverback Mwirima is happy to entertain the tourists, perhaps this is where the youngsters get it from.
Having grown from an original number of 6 individuals in 2003 to the 13 that we can see today we’ll keep you informed of any further developments in this prolific group.
More Members of this Group (Pass the mouse over the image to show the name of the Gorilla):