Susa Gorilla Group; Susa gorilla group is one of the few gorilla groups found in Volcanoes National Park where Rwanda gorilla trekking experience can be conducted from, however, this gorilla group do splits to the south West of the Virunga Massif that stands mountain Karisimbi on the highest level of the Virunga Volcanoes a home to Susa gorilla group.

Susa Gorilla Family –Group started in 1974   and mentioned to be the second largest ever observed mountain gorilla group with big number of members ‘’41 members following Pablo-A group which had over 65 individuals in the past.

Unfortunately, Pablo faced a rapid decline in 2006 from 65 to 30 individuals.  Due to the decline of Dian Fossey Gorilla Find which were caused by group spitting and male disperse for a solitary life. By 2014, Susa had increased its number from 7 to 42 members this making it the largest group at the time.

Susa Gorilla Group
Susa Gorilla Group

Apart from being the largest group, Susa remains the famous gorilla group having the first set of surviving twins in the history of mountain gorillas in 2004. Amazingly, the twins were named impano which means gift and Byishimo means happiness.  The group is under the leadership of the dominant Silverback Kurira who protects the family under unity and strength till the first split.

 However, Susa gorilla group has grown large with various subordinate males and the presence of many subordinate males triggered the first split in 2009.  Meanwhile, the dominant silverback limits subordinate males’ outreach to females ignoring their   support in protecting the group members. Therefore, the unhappy subordinates often end up leaving the family without a fraction of individuals.

Furthermore, Nyagakangaga one of the subordinate silverbacks decided to leave with 13 individuals and split from the Susa group thus forming Karisimbi group. In spite the division, Susa continued to thrive and procreate, however, another set of twins was born to the group in 2011.

In 2014 , the group splintered again ,by that time dominant silverback Kurira was aging and  being challenged by other gorilla groups. This forced the subordinate males to get involved in interactions with other groups while Kurira used this opportunity to avoid encounters. Igisha who was known as the second in command to Kurira at the time decided to leave the family with 23 members to form his gorilla family thus leaving Susa with only 18 members. More so, Igisha left the group with other subordinate males. Yet, when it comes to usual facts of splitting a silverback leaves the group with range of adult females and young gorillas while other subordinate males stay calm to the dominant silverback in the original group.

Today, we as count four gorilla groups have separated from the original Susa group that includes; Igisha with 32 members, Isimbi 17 members, Susa 19 member and Karisimbi with 11 me members.

Since 2016, Karisimbi group is no longer being seen, which makes trackers suspect that they might have crossed into the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo where its new home range was established. By 2022 the old Kurira will be making 100 years although since May 2020 it has not be seem. According to his disappearance by the trackers, Kurira seemed to be weak and had started moving alone, leaving a big distance to be led by his sons ‘’Kuramba and Impuzamahanga. Although, these twin brothers managed to keep the family safe and in unity. But later on, the trackers found out that the group had disintegrated to form four sub-groups led by Kuramba, Manzi, Kurira and Impuzamahanga. Later on, they had to re-unite under the leadership of Mpuzamahanga. Then Manzi and Kuramba had become as solitary member.

Susa Gorilla Group
Karisimbi Gorilla Group

 In general, Volcanoes National Park is one of the landmark Rwanda safari destination where the incredible mountain gorilla trekking can be done through visiting one of the habituated gorilla family in the park. The park is located in the northwestern part of Rwanda, to its great Virunga volcano conservation region spanning to the cover of evergreen, bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. It’s a small park with an average area of about 160 square kilometers of its low land. Visit the park and be able to reach out to our close related mountain gorillas in their preserved nature inhabitant of Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda which can easily be accessed from Kigali capital city Rwanda through board crossing to Bwindi which lasts 4 hours’ drive.

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