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On January 4th it was discovered that a newborn member of the Kahunge gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest had died on 1 January. The infant's mother is Rugendo, a young aduly female and first-time mother.
Although gorilla doctors were unable to identify the cause of death, they believe he had been born on 28th December. It has been suggested that since Rugendo's mammary glands are not yet fully developed, the inability to nurse the infant may have been the reason. She has since been seen in the group behaving normally.
The gorilla doctors surveyed the other members of the Kahunge group and found no sign of injury or ill-health among other members of the group. Other infants were seen playing with one another and climbing trees as the adults, led by the dominant silverback, Rumanzi, continued to feed, showing that they had not been deeply affected by the loss of the infant.
This follows the news from last year that mountain gorillas were no longer in decline and that their numbers have risen from the 2006 estimate of 302 to a minimum of 400 in 2011. This now brings the total world population of mountain gorillas up to a minimum of 880, when the 480 from the Virungas are added. This is doubtlessly good news and we look forward to further increases.
For more information on visiting the gorillas in Bwindi, contact a member of our sales team.
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.