Family Size: 12
Silverback: Ndahura, Rukumu, Karamuzi, Rukara
Blackback: Mugisha, Obia
Adult Female: Ruhara, Kamunga, Betina
Infant: Mubwindi, Kadogo
This mountain gorilla family was named Bitukura after a river that bears the same name. As it happens the family was first sighted in near the river which also turned out to be part of its homing range. Habituation of this group begun in July 2007 and the group was opened for tourism in October 2008. This was a relatively easy group to habituate as it had often been encountered by UWA rangers and trackers in their encounters with the Kyaguriro group and this non-threatening human contact made it easier for the group to become accustomed to human company much faster than with other gorilla groups which often take a minimum of two years to fully habituate.
The Bitukura family is peaceable, with little in way of the politics and monkeyshines prone to gorilla families. Ndahura sees to that. The Bitukura and Kyaguriro families share a close bond and are known to have, what can be described in human terms as get-togethers about once each month. The biggest mystery surrounding this peaceable family is the migration of its eldest juvenile daughter to the Kyaguriro family. Whereas it is known that on reaching adulthood, female gorillas are prone to leave the family in favour of starting a family with an eligible solitary male, or simply joining another family – like Twigukye did – she was nonetheless rather young to make the move. But she did it and a study of the family members may help give a clue to this unusual occurrence.
Bitukura group has an interesting history –in 2011 the group divided into two and lived as two separate groups 10 km apart – only to reunite four months later. They have lived happily together ever since – and the reasons for the temporary split are still not fully understood.
It is recommended to consider stays in Ruhija other than Buhoma given that you will need to take an early start of 5am given that Ruhija ranger post is 52 kilometers away ( approximately 2 hours drive) from Buhoma.
Hiking in Rushaga can be challenging for those sensitive to altitude, as Ruhija is at 2,340 meters 7,700 feet, but the tracking experience itself is considered very rewarding.