In her Rushaga sector, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park creates a home to a mountain gorilla family called Nshongi. The Rushaga sector is traversed by a stream called “Omushongi Gwoboki”, which in a local dialect translates as sweet wild honey. The river’s waters are brown-like in color similar to the color of wild honey. On Uganda Safaris and adventures, visitors get to see the stream which provided an eponym for the naming of Nshongi mountain gorilla family.
At the time of its first sighting, and its eventual habituation in September 2009, the Nshongi mountain gorilla family members were often seen relaxing along the river banks and just breathing in the breeze that blew from the cool waters of the stream.
With a record 36 members when it received its first visitors, Nshongi was undeniably the largest mountain gorilla family to ever be habituated. Uganda’s Gorilla Trekking Safari Tourists who were assigned to track this family group by then were surely fortunate enough to see a big percentage of the world’s only remaining population of the endangered mountain gorilla species.
However in July 2010 one of the disgruntled silver-backs in this family didn’t really enjoy living under the rule of another fellow silverback, and Mishaya was his name. He therefore rallied a number of females in a planned secession. Fortunately, Mishaya’s secession was successful. With ten (10) family members Mishaya formed his own family which was eventually named after him. Today Mishaya’s family has grown to 12 individuals who can be seen while on a Gorilla Safari and Tour to Bwindi.
Just two years later another silverback called Bweza decided to also form a family of his own. It started as a joke as some of the members thought he would return after a while, but this has lasted up to over two years now. The Bweza family now comprises of nine (9) family members.
Over the years the Nshongi family has reduced to 26 members, tightly competing with the Oruzogo mountain gorilla family of the Ruhija sector which has 25 members. The group, in its diversity, has in the past served its visitors with utmost hospitality and this is presumed to continue even for the visitors who intend to embark on Gorilla Safaris and Tours in Uganda.
Perhaps in the years to come Nshongi will cease being the largest of Bwindi’s habituated mountain gorilla family but they will surely continue to boast of a highly populated past and the presence of its own blood that will continue to flow in other mountain gorilla families like Mishaya and Bweza. Perhaps you could keep your fingers crossed for an opportunity to encounter the huge Nshongi Mountain Gorilla Family.
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