Rugira D.O.B. April 7, 2008 Mudasumbwa D.O.B. July 30, 2020
Rugira, who joined Musilikale’s group in 2015, and her 1-year-old son, Mudasumbwa, enjoy being a part of a large group – there are 24 gorillas in the group, of which 10 are under the age of 5.
Rugira is an experienced mom whose first son, Urugano, was born four years ago. She surprised us with the birth of Mudasumbwa only three years later as usually gorilla females give birth every four years.
Mudasumbwa, whose name means “outstanding,” was born in July 2020 and has used the number of young gorillas in the group to his advantage and is maturing very fast through the relationships and skills he is building with his playmates. While he still relies on Rugira for food and protection, he spends every waking hour playing with his best friends, Duhuze and Mpanuro, or following his big brother Urugano around. Urugano, who is famous for his adventurous spirit, is always trying new things, and Mudasumbwa is never far behind. Even with two very adventurous young gorillas, Rugira can rest easy knowing that her boys are well protected by the three silverback brothers, who keep a watchful eye over all of the young gorillas in the group.
When Mudasumbwa isn’t playing, he is spending time with Rugira learning which leaves, roots and flowers are safe to eat, and how to find them – important skills he will need as he grows up.
6 Month Update
Mudasumbwa, who turned 2 this year, is growing up so quickly! While he is slowly gaining independence from mom Rugira, he is still very much attached to her. He loves to play and this has given Rugira well-deserved breaks throughout the day. Mudasumbwa is eating on his own but still nurses and will until around the age of three. He also loves to grab a long cuddle from mom, especially on those extra rainy and cold days on the mountain.
When Mudasumbwa isn’t with Rugira, he is often with his big brother, Urungano, playing and sometimes eating together– an important behavior for learning the many plants in the forest that are food. We look forward to seeing Mudasumbwa and Rugira continue to grow together and to what lies in their future!
Rugira is doing well after the loss of her infant last year. After temporarily moving to Kureba’s group, she reunited with Musilikale’s group. She is often found near dominant silverback Musilikale and we are hopeful that she may have another infant in the near future.
She is incredibly smart and observant of her surroundings. She is often found playing with younger gorillas and it is mesmerizing to see her climb trees with such little effort, sometimes even with her older children on her back.
We look forward to seeing what is in store for Rugira in the next few months!