October 21, 2014
Bwenge’s group update
The gorillas of Bwenge’s group are still under the leadership of Maggie, but Fossey Fund staff does not expect this atypical situation to continue for long. On Oct. 3, the group ran into Titus group, which also lost a dominant silverback, Rano, in July, but there were no transfers. On Oct. 12, a lone silverback approached the group led by Maggie, which led to stress and increased traveling by the group. During that time, a six-year-old male, Ntaribi, was left behind and trackers lost his trail, as is easy to do with a gorilla traveling alone, on Oct. 17. An additional tracking team is now looking for him.
Since then, Maggie has taken her group a considerable distance from the site of the interaction with Titus group, likely to limit potentially dangerous situations. Our trackers have noted that she has formed a close bond with sub-adult female Akaramata. This gorilla had a special relationship with Bwenge after he adopted her into his group and seems to consider Maggie a leader. We are uncertain how much longer Maggie will remain in leadership, but we hold high regards for this female and her admirable determination to lead Bwenge’s group.
During times like this, we are reminded of the importance of our trackers presence in the field 365 days a year. Our trackers are vital for monitoring unusual situations like this and for providing continual protection of gorilla groups and individuals—like Ntaribi.
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