Rwanda Development Board together with Uganda Wildlife Authority is mourning the sudden death of four Rwanda mountain gorillas believed to have bee struck by lightening in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda. The four gorillas were members of Rwanda’s Hirwa family which last year (2019) migrated from Volcanoes National Park to settle Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Since then, the Hirwa family is trekked from Uganda but money collected from gorilla permits shared between Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board. The lost mountain gorillas were struck on 3rd February 2020 while feeding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The lost mountain gorillas include 3 adult females and 1 male infant leaving the Hirwa family with only 13 members. Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) confirmed that all lost members were indeed members of Hirwa gorilla family now living in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. More so, the team of officials from UWA, UTB, Mgahinga park wardens, Volcanoes Park wardens, and gorilla doctors assessed the cause of death and also checked the health state of other mountain gorillas in Hirwa family. It was confirmed that all other Hirwa gorilla family members have no sickness and are all in good health state.
Post Mortem results
Just like any death with no sickness, a post mortem was conducted by experiences gorilla doctors to find out what exactly led to the death of mountain gorillas in Hirwa family. Both samples were collected from dead bodies of gorilla and take n to the laboratory for testing. Results from laboratory analysis, field assessment and history confirmed that electrocution by lighting was the tentative cause of death. UWA and RDB more expect results from a histopathology laboratory exam expected 2-3 weeks time.
About Hirwa Family
Locally translated as “lucky one” Hirwa gorilla family is a former Rwanda’s gorilla family that was living in Volcanoes National park. In August 2029, the Hirwa family crossed borders and settled in Mgahinga Gorilla National park where is now trekked from. Hirwa family broke from Susa Family when Munyanga silverback decided to leave Susa family to start his own group. Munyanga left with some females adults and babies starting up his own family which expanded slowly through the birth of new babies including a set of twins. Initially, Hirwa family lived on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo and it was Rwanda’s favorite and most trekked gorilla family.
How to trek Hirwa gorilla family
The fact that the Hirwa gorilla family is now living in Mgahinga Gorilla National park, Uganda Wildlife Authority is in charge of its trekking. Travelers who want to trek Hirwa family book through Uganda Wildlife Authority, pay $700 for a permit and are guided by Uganda park rangers to see this amazing family. 50% of the money collected from the sale of Hirwa gorilla family permits is given to Rwanda Development Board since Hirwa is well known as Rwanda’s gorilla group. the migration of Hirwa gorilla group to Mgahinga Gorilla national park has increased gorilla permit availability in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park totaling 16 permits per day. Alternatively, you can contact Gorilla Trek Africa for bookings to trek the Hirwa family.
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga forest apparently has 2 gorilla families for trekking every day. Nyakagyezi gorilla family was lucky to be joined by the Hirwa family from Volcanoes National park. Trekking to see both gorilla families costs $700 for each permit but the experience is worth it. Gorilla Trek Africa helps you book a Uganda gorilla tour to Mgahinga gorilla national park to enjoy this memorable gorilla encounter at affordable prices.