Habinyanja Gorilla Group is one of the Mountain Gorilla families that inhabit the Buhoma sector. Apparently, there only 10 habituated Gorilla families residing in various sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park and Buhoma is one of those sectors.
Unlike other families in Uganda, this family was among the first to be habituated. Habinyanja Gorilla Group was habituated in the year 1997 and was first visited by tourists 2 years later in 1999.
The word Habinyanja gorilla group derives from a local word called ‘Nyanja’ which means ‘a place with water’, the place where the group was first seen near a swamp in Buhoma sector.
This group was led by Mugurisi, a silverback whose name derived from a local phrase meaning ‘old man’s teeth’. Mugurisi later on passed away because of old age and right after his death were two brothers Mwirima and Rwansigazi who shared power but because of some indifferences, they couldn’t continue to be leaders in power.
Rwansigazi was an adventurous leader who loved travelling and Mwirima preferred staying at a close range with family.
The two silverbacks separated in 2002 without any fights. The members that stayed with Rwansigazi were the Habinyanja and the members that stayed with Mwirima formed a group called Rushegura family.
Later on the leader of Habinyanja Gorilla Group gave up his leadership to Makara who is now in power to lead the family.
Sad news hit the group in 2011 when one of its black backs, Mizano – a very friendly Mountain Gorillas was found dead. His body had a couple of spear wounds around the neck and the shoulders.
Mizano reportedly lost his life after running into a group of poachers with their dogs. He died whilst defending his family from poachers. This incident was reportedly the first that occurred by poachers since the year 1995.
Habinyanja Gorilla Group now moves daily in the forest. It needs more of energy to trek this family along with its 18 members.
Please note that this number keeps changing when new babies are born, old members die or rather another member joins the family.