November 29, 2011
Female Umusatsi Returns to Group With Young Son
Good news! Today female mountain gorilla Umusatsi (27 years old) and her son Rwema were finally back in their group (Kuryama’s). Even their nests were found there, meaning that they rejoined the group sometime yesterday evening.
This discovery came at a good time, as we were organizing a large patrol to look for them and greatly concerned about their well being. Umusatsi and her juvenile son Rwema left the group on Nov. 10, traveling independently since then. They were accidentally encountered on Nov. 18, but Umusatsi was was distressed and they ran away from our trackers.
It’s hard to give a satisfactory explanation for this kind of behavior. This is not the first time that Umusatsi has left the group, only to come back after several days, and we have observed this with some other females as well. We can speculate on the possible factors involved, but in our minds none can really balance the risks of traveling alone.