Hirwa mountain gorilla family returns to Volcanoes National Park

The Hirwa group of mountain gorillas that crossed over to Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park on 28thAugust 2019 have returned to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

According a press release from Rwanda Development Board, the Hirwa family was sighted and identified by gorilla trackers on 15th April 2020. Eleven (11) members of the family of seventeen (17) that crossed over to Uganda returned. Unfortunately, four (4) of the members were reported to have died from a lightning strike on 3rd February 2020 while two (2) succumbed to intestinal obstruction and respiratory infection respectively. An infant that was born in January 2020 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also passed away due to intestinal obstruction of the colon.

Hirwa is among many other mountain gorilla families that range within the Virunga Massif ecosystem, comprised of three regional parks: Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

Movement of gorillas within the massif is a regular occurrence. Reasons for cross border movements include seasonal food availability as well as the interaction between various groups. Inter-group competition for food and reproduction are also significant factors determining gorilla home range changes over time.