Article from our friends at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Update on the Mountain Gorillas by our friends at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda
We definitely entered the long dry season early this year with the weather drying out by mid June and very little rain falling apart from a few drops towards the middle and end of July, the only significant rainstorm fell on the afternoon of the 21st July, when in true tropical style we received 21 mm/m² in a few hours. As this is our winter time, temperatures have been pretty cool in the evenings, below 10° Celsius, and most of the time the sky has been cloudy, and the air misty or hazy. The Volcanoes made a few brief appearances from behind the veil of misty haze…
Despite the mist, the gorilla sightings have been great. Normally the mammals of Volcanoes National Park, including Mountain Gorillas, tend to be more on the move during the dry season and their movements become more unpredictable as they go in search of rich and palatable food that is becoming scarcer. However, most guests did not have to trek too long to see the gorillas, and most were back at the lodge in the early afternoon to have lunch and relax quietly for the rest of the day, unless they preferred to visit one of the other points of interest in the volcanoes area.
The major development in the gorilla population was that the Susa Group, that had split and joined back together numerous times during the last few months, has now definitely split into two separate groups. ‘Susa-A’ has been named ‘Susa’ Group and ‘Susa-B’ was renamed the ‘Karisimbi’ Group, as the family live in the Mt. Karisimbi area of the national park. Although the Susa Group can usually be found not too far into the forest, the new Karisimbi Group will be visited only by hardcore hikers because they have pretty much established their home range quite far (and high) on the slopes of the Karisimbi caldera… making a trip to see them a full-days trek indeed!
With the formation of this new gorilla family the Park authorities have agreed to increase the number of gorilla permits available each day to 64 which is great news for tourism.
Back in the lodge we continue to have exciting sightings. On the 12th of July, for the second time in the last four months, an African Wild Cat was sighted by two observers in the lodge’s grounds in the late afternoon. Although the species is still included in the official Mammal List of Volcanoes National Park, no confirmed records of the cat had been reported for many of years, until now…