The southern sector has undergone a lot of transformation since gorilla tourism effectively took root. Originally, the sector had got only Nshongi gorilla group which had the world’s largest mountain gorilla numbers in the family at its habituation. The group has since broken into three more families including Mishaya and Bweza.
The habituation of Kahungye however in the same sector has witnessed yet again another break away family established in the name of Busingye. Many gorilla tourists will find this welcome news as more permits will be available and thus tracking options. This latest secession has now brought the total family groups to a remarkable five all in one sector. The group is led by an ambitious Silver Back whose now legendary fights in the wild for adult females have earned him a privileged place in the circles of his peers. Busingye last split from the mother family of Kahungye on 4th June 2012 while Bweza split from the mother Shongi group on 1st August 2012.
Research from BMCA monitoring team led by Research Warden Kato Raymond indicates no intentions of the break way groups to fuse back to their parent families in future. Interactions between the “mother” families with their breakaway factions have always been characterized by fierce battles mostly restricted to the dominant males guarding their turf. Each group has since whenever possibilities occur tried to avoid direct interactions with one another for fear of the potential loss of members from the resultant fight.
The strong Busingye silver back has however from time to time showed how capable he is to tilt the power balance in the south which has a crowded home range of its habituated gorillas that keep over lapping one another. Whenever he interacts with a wild family, he mercilessly grabs a female from that group for himself.
The Area Conservation Manager BMCA Mr. Pontious Ezuma contends that with these gorilla dynamics coming into play, UWA has got more space available for tourists who intend to do gorilla tracking in the southern sector. He advises that the visitors can now book this family because it is one of the versatile and exciting groups one can visit for a memorable time while in Bwindi’s Impenetrable park for gorilla tourism.
All gorilla conservation friends will be delighted to know that the Bitukura family number has grown with a member more has a new birth has been registered. Ruhara, an Adult Female has given birth to a baby much to the delight of the entire family of Bitukura and gorilla friends. The group size is surely regaining after defections were witnessed for the better part of last year. Rukara silverback, who joined Kyaguliro group last year, has not yet returned.
Curious infants and juveniles of the group were seen struggling to feel the new infant who was tightly guarded and monitored by the dominant SB Ndahura. The mother for the better part of the day dedicates her time to breast feeding and grooming the infant. Despite the rainy season pounding all the sectors of the park, Ruhija’s Bitukura group has since looked bright and definitely in high spirits. The family lead by towering Ndahura SB has been seen happily going about their usual daily rigors with no worries.
The family generally looks happy, closer despite the loss of three members who defected to other gorilla families in the due course of the year. ADF Betina has her wounds healing after the famous fight she was engrossed in when a wild family had an incursion with the family and come to a brink of snatching her.
Nduguyangu Jimmy, one of the trackers who located the newly born infant contends that the family often nests at Bugarama where Ndahura has lately established his home range. The lead silverback in a quest to assert his superiority over the family he heads nests near females but within the closer vicinity of infants and juveniles. The area however is a range zone for the elephants mostly during the night hours.
On another note however, Bitukura tourist guests were given a free display when the young Obia BB decided to engage Ndahura in a slop sided duel. For some reason, composed Ndahura SB was quietly feeding from some vine plants away from the main pack. I guess he needed some privacy because he was not so keen to join his subordinates at the feeding arena. It seems though the young charitable Obia had other ideas for the day.
He was seen bent on disturbing the old man’s peace by constantly pulling away the vines the dominant SB was keen to feeding on. The visibly irritated Ndahura tried to keep his cool till his patience came to a near snap. He tried to signal his displeasure but the pleas landed on Obia’s deaf ears. In full view of the entire family surged forward in a fit of anger, he leapt and got hold of Obia, beat the living day lights out of him and sent him fleeing much to bewildered juniors. Obia was seen wimpering from the far side of the pack nursing the pseudo injuries sustained from the one minute beating.
UWA receives field equipment from AWF
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) through support from USAID/Uganda Tourism for Biodiversity Program (T4B) has donated assorted field equipment worth 25,000 dollars to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The equipment which was handed over to UWA management led by the Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya at UWA head office on April 26, 2013, included two Coolpix Nikon cameras, 20 GPSs, two field desk top computers, one laptop and ten rangefinders.
The equipment which was handed over to UWA by T4B chief of Party, Mr. Kaddu Sebunya, will greatly help in the data collection from the field including wildlife locations.
Mr. Sam Mwandha a senior conservation and planning officer with AWF, said the cameras are unique with inbuilt GPS coordinates and water proof. He was optimistic the equipment will help the UWA ecological Monitoring ad Research unit in wildlife mapping.
Dr. Andrew Seguya applauded T4B for the kind donation saying it marked the beginning of the partnership and project implementation. He said the equipment will be central in controlling Wildlife illegal activities.
The Uganda/USAID Tourism for Biodiversity will for the next four years promote tourism development and marketing in Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo and Kidepo Valley National park besides Budongo central forest reserve ad Karinju.
President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday April 3, 2013 passed out 430 ranger recruits who completed four and a half months of training at Murchison Falls Training Ground in northern Uganda. The new addition brings the total of the UWA range fore to 1,329 who are charged with maintaining the integrity of the protected Areas and ensuring visitor security.