Field update: Last month Segasira turned 12-years-old, the age that male gorillas are officially considered silverbacks even if their backs have still not changed from black to gray. Segasira was part of Titus' group until the group temporarily split after an interaction with the lone silverback Urugwiro on October 21st. Segasira was later found with his silverback brother Urwibutso far from the rest of the group on the 22nd. The following day the two brothers were discovered away from each other. After few days, Urwibutso rejoined the rest of the group while Segasira stayed alone. Segasira is doing well on his own and has been followed for several days by the Karisoke trackers. Stay tuned to see if Segasira will rejoin Titus group or continue his solitary life despite his very young age.
New infant born in Musilikale's group! 16-year-old Ikaze, who transferred to Musilikale's group in January, just gave birth on October 26. This is the fourth gorilla born this year in Musilikale's group and brings the group total to 18 gorillas!
More interactions among the gorilla groups this weekend were noted by Fossey Fund trackers, including the efforts of 29-year-old lone silverback Inshuti, who has followed a group for several days, in his latest attempt to attract some females and form a group. He’s had a group in the past, but lives mostly on his own.
Fossey Fund trackers observed the results of many interactions among the gorilla groups this weekend! One of the most interesting involved silverback Urugwiro, whose only group member (female Keza) transferred out in early October. Yesterday he was seen with a new female and they were still together today!
It's that time of year when the gorillas are starting to come downhill into the bamboo zone to feed on new bamboo shoots. Today, Iyambere's group was seen under the dense bamboo vegetation at the bottom of mount Karisimbi. Our team also spotted the 41-year-old female Poppy, who still looks agile while finding her way through bamboo branches!
What does a snake have to do with gorillas?! Understanding more about important animals and plants in the forests is crucial to the survival of gorillas and for effective conservation. Our team spotted this snake at base camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's a member of the Typhlopidae family, which is a family of blind snake. They live underground and have vestigial eyes and are not venomous. #biodiversity#WednesdayWisdom⠀
Learn more about what we're doing in Congo: https://gorillafund.org/what-we-do/where-we-work/congo/
More great news from Rwanda: 21-year-old Muganga was found yesterday with a new infant! She transferred from Isabukuru's group to Musilikale's group in November 2016, which means she must have conceived the infant shortly after transferring. Cool fact: Muganga has had three different infants in three different groups!
“Newborns of any endangered species are a magical addition. Every golden monkey birth is a great sign of their reproduction ability and population growth, so it’s really fantastic to watch.” -Sue Wiper (Fossey Fund/University of Chester researcher) ⠀
Read more about Golden Monkeys in birthing season: link in bio
Our team in Rwanda reports that the Kuryama gorilla group is doing well, now that young silverback Igihozo has taken over leadership. Older silverback Vuba died in September, but luckily the group had two young silverbacks who were ready and able to keep the group safe and stable. The group had some good news this week, when they gained a new female who transferred from a very small group. More on the new female and the good news from Kuryama group ----> http://dfgfi.org/2xZHi23
Newborn infant alert: our team spotted 9-year-old female Shishikara, with a newborn infant! Shishikara is one of six females in Pablo's group and this birth brings the group number up to 24 gorillas! Her mother Gutangara is also in the group and has a 2-year-old infant.
Photo by @ronan_donovan // Mountain gorilla Urwibutso is a large male silverback. He's seen here strolling through a field that was once part of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Land was converted and cleared in the early 1970s for increased agricultural use. Writer Elizabeth Royte spent time with Urwibutso and recounts her experience in the September article, The Gorillas Dian Fossey Saved. "Later that morning Veronica Vecellio, the gorilla program manager for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, settles onto a log inside the park, high on a thickly forested, mist-shrouded slope of the Virunga Mountains, and turns her attention to a silverback known as Urwibutso. A frequent wall hopper, Urwibutso is carefully folding thistle leaves before placing them in his mouth. When he turns toward Vecellio, an ebullient woman who studies gorilla group dynamics, she snaps a picture, then zooms in on a wound on his nose. “He fought with another silverback from Titus this morning,” she whispers intently.''
Learn more in the current issue of National Geographic Magazine and follow @ronan_donovan to see more images and stories of mountain gorillas. Also check out the legacy work of Dian Fossey @savinggorillas
We did it! Together we raised over $125,000 as part of our 50th anniversary "Protect their future" campaign! Thank you so much to everyone who joined the Fossey Fund team to help protect gorillas in the wild. We could not do the work we do without all of your wonderful support. http://dfgfi.org/protectgorillasfuture
As we wrap up our 50th anniversary “Protect their Future” campaign, we’d like to pause to remember all the amazing gorillas we’ve observed and protected over the years, including gentle silverback Vuba, who died of natural causes this week. We are most grateful for your support in helping us to protect their future: http://dfgfi.org/protectgorillasfuture
The Fossey Fund is saddened to report that silverback Vuba died overnight. Vuba led a group named after former leader Kuryama. He is a son of the late, legendary silverback Titus. Read the full story on our website. Link in bio
Photo by @ronan_donovan // Dian Fossey spent 18 years studying and protecting the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. For her stubborn devotion to save the gorillas she loved, she paid the ultimate price. Dian Fossey was murdered in her mountain cabin on December 26th, 1985. She was laid to rest here 5 days later alongside her beloved gorillas who also lost their lives in the struggle to survive in this tumultuous region. Here, François Bigirimana removes leaves from a nearby gorilla grave alongside Fossey's own grave. François remembers Fossey as, "a very stubborn woman who loved gorillas more than people." Across the top of her headstone is her local nickname - NYIRAMACHABELLI - which translates to, 'the woman that lives alone on the mountain.' Learn more about the legacy of Dian Fossey and the mountain gorillas she saved in the September issue of National Geographic Magazine. Follow @ronan_donovan for more unpublished images from this story. And the continued work of Fossey can be found here @savinggorillas
Yesterday the Fossey Fund team hiked into Volcanoes National Park to visit the original Karisoke Research Center and Dian Fossey's gravesite in celebration of our 50th anniversary. The group included former Karisoke director Liz Williamson, current director Felix Ndagijimana, along with researchers, trackers, and other staff. Karisoke began with one woman 50 years ago and has grown to a team of 170 members working in three different countries. #WorldGorillaDay#ProtectGorillasFuture
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is the longest-running gorilla conservation program in the world as well as the world’s center-point of gorilla research. When Dian came to Rwanda in 1967 she probably didn’t know exactly where her work would take her – but we believe she would be proud to see that her life’s work lives on through the 170 staff that make up the Fossey Fund today. And her legacy now extends beyond mountain gorillas to helping other gorillas in distress, such as the Grauer’s gorillas in Congo where our latest conservation work takes place. http://dfgfi.org/protectgorillasfuture #WorldGorillaDay
Today is our 50th Anniversary!! We celebrate 50 years of persistent determination. For half a century, we’ve followed Dian’s example to never leave the gorillas without protection – especially when the going gets tough. Join the Fossey Fund as we carry on Dian's legacy of protecting gorillas ----> http://dfgfi.org/protectgorillasfuture
September 24th 1967, Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center with the goal of monitoring and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Karisoke originally was just two tents that Dr. Fossey set up in the forest. The Fossey Fund has grown significantly in 50 years but our mission remains the same. #ProtectGorillasFuture http://dfgfi.org/protectgorillasfuture
Do you remember Macibiri? We had the great privilege of naming her after our founder Dian Fossey this month at Kwita Izina. Protect her future by donating to our fall campaign here ---> http://dfgfi.org/DoubleMyGiftNow ⠀
Our board is matching all donations through Sept. 30, up to $20,000! #ProtectGorillasFuture#worldgorilladay
Sunday September 24th is the first annual World Gorilla Day and also marks the 50th anniversary of the Karisoke Research Center founded by Dian Fossey. World Gorilla Day will be celebrated every year on the anniversary of the founding of Karisoke and seeks to raise awareness for the many ways to protect endangered gorillas in the wild. The vision of of one woman changed the future for gorillas. Find out how you can get involved ----> worldgorilladay.org #WorldGorillaDay#ProtectGorillasFuture
Our trackers follow Grauer's gorillas in Congo at one day’s distance, using signs such as night nests, droppings, food remains, and footprints to document them. We also use camera traps to document the gorillas and other species like eastern Chimpanzees, leopards, pangolins, aardvarks, and more. Thanks to Escobar Binyini for these great camera trap images! (eastern Chimpanzees pictured) Read more about the gorillas we located in Congo's National Park -----> http://dfgfi.org/2xfXfCB
The trail of a Grauer’s gorilla group we’ve been following since January led us to a rare 40-meter-high Autranella congolensis tree. Apparently gorillas love the pulp of its fruit. The Autranella is now critically endangered due to logging and to the disappearance of elephants, which are the only animals able to swallow and disperse its large seeds. #Congo#Biodiversity
The Lowa River marks the beginning of Grauer’s gorilla’s territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once our teams pass this river, they start seeing wildlife and hearing chimpanzees. After 6 additional hours hiking through the forest, they finally reach the home ranges of the gorilla groups we protect. More ----> http://dfgfi.org/2xfXfCB #ProtectGorillasFuture#GrauersGorillas#Congo
Members of the Fossey Fund board of directors have offered to match all donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000 between now and September 24. These funds will be directed immediately to support our ongoing work in Congo and to enable teams to conduct more surveys like those in Maiko to locate additional Grauer’s gorillas that need our protection. http://dfgfi.org/DoubleMyGiftNow ( Camera trap photo of Grauer's gorilla mother and infant in Congo)