February 8, 2012
Is This the End of Inshuti’s Group?
Today we found silverback Inshuti. He was alone and appeared weak. He was moving slowly but feeding abundantly, in the Tamu area on the bottom of Bikereri hill.
One kilometer away on the slope of the hill were the lone silverback Giraneza with female Nyandwi, the same as yesterday. But surprisingly, they were not alone! The lone silverback Turatsinze was there too, with female Taraja and her infant Akarusho (who will turn 3 in May).
Trackers were observing the interaction. There was a big fight between Giraneza and Turatsinze. Soon after the fight, female Taraja moved to Giraneza, while infant Akarusho moved alone and was not seen for the rest of the day. In addition, a third lone silverback was displaying at 400 meters from that site.
When the researchers arrived at the interaction site, Giraneza was with Taraja and Nyandwi. He was making frequent hooting vocalizations and the females were feeding. At that time Turatsinze was 200 meters away, following Giraneza. Two fresh snares were removed from a site very close to Giraneza and the females.
Female Shangaza and her 3-year-old infant Ngwino were not found today. They are the only remaining individuals from Inshuti’s group still dispersed.
Tomorrow, the Karisoke Research Center's anti-poaching team will support the gorilla tracking teams. We will follow the situation of Giraneza, Nyandwi and Taraja with a large team of trackers in case the two females have separated; visit Inshuti; and look for Shangaza, Ngwino and Akarusho. In addition, veterinarians from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project will visit Inshuti on Friday to check on how well he is healing from the wounds he suffered from the lone silverbacks last week.
Today it looked like this may be the end of Inshuti’s group and the beginning of another. But all can still change! It is clearly a situation to monitor attentively, while avoiding any further stress to the gorillas.