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Bitukura Gorilla Group

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is not only home to half population of the endangered mountain gorillas but also harbours 350 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, 320 tree species and so much more.

Mountain gorillas can only be trekked in three national parks in the world and that is Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Bitukura mountain gorilla family is found in Ruhijja sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Bitukura mountain gorilla family derives its name from Bitukura River which is partly its home range and they were first sighted near river Bitukura.

Bitukura mountain gorilla family was opened for tourism in 2008 and this was the easiest mountain gorilla family to be habituated in Bwindi, unlike other gorilla families whose habituation took 2-3 years Bitukura gorilla family habituation took only 1 year because the family was always encountered by rangers and trackers visiting Kyaguriro gorilla family which made the group accustomed to human presence.

It’s believed that Kyaguriro gorilla family and Bitukura gorilla family always have peaceful get together, some members of Bitukura gorilla family including elderly female Twigukye joined Kyaguriro gorilla family for good, the family initially had 24 members and was dominated by Karamusizi at the time of habituation. Karamusizi died at 40 years and Ndahura took over the group.

The dominant silverback of Bitukura gorilla family was Ndahura until he met his death after falling from a tree in 2016 and surprisingly the group had got other 3 silverbacks and Ndahura was  the second youngest silverback dominating the group which is not a case of mountain gorillas because the oldest silverback is always the one leading the family. The group is now composed of 15 individuals.

It should be noted that numbers of individuals in gorilla families keep changing as a reason of birth, death or some gorillas moving to other groups. The dominating silverback that took over Ndahuras leadership is called Rukumu; Bitukura is one of the most peaceful gorilla families you can visit in Bwindi.

Gorilla trekking is the main reason why most people visit Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, the activity starts early morning after briefing and takes about 30 minutes to several hours depending on the phase of hikers and location of the gorilla family but once you find the group your trekking, an hour of observation is given and then you can descend back.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be visited all year round but the best time of the year to visit is in the dry seasons of June to August and December to February.

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