November 18, 2011
Update: Gwiza Still in Titus's Group, Kuryama's Group Still Wandering, Gorillas Lost and Found
It’s day six of Gwiza’s interaction with Titus’s group, and the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center field staff are starting to bet on whether he will ever leave or stay. It seems that the last say will belong to female Fat (Ubufatanye), who doesn’t yet seem to have made up her mind about what to do. Gwiza spent the night with the others. During the daytime Fat is sometimes with Gwiza 30 to 50 meters from the group but she then moves back toward the group, followed by Gwiza. All the gorillas must be exhausted, as they walk long distances every day – today three kilometers up and down hill from Bikereri to the Basumba area.
Kuryama’s group has explored almost all the eucalyptus fields that neighbor the park from east to west in the last two weeks, between the slopes of the Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes. Today once again they were outside the park, walking for almost a kilometer along the buffalo wall from the Muntu area going west, 400 meters downhill from the wall. Field staff rotate to be with them until evening.
Also outside the park: Ugenda’s, Bwenge’s and Ntambara’s groups, but all for less than an hour before going back inside on their own. The previous day, Ugenda’s group had been outside the park for more than four hours and had to be herded back inside by trackers. This was the first time this had been done for Ugenda’s group. Silverbacks Wageni and Ugenda made many pig grunts at the trackers, but the operation was successful.
It’s the second day for male Irakoze to be missing from Pablo’s group. We are wondering if he has rejoined the two companions from his former bachelor group. We hope to find him (or them) soon, to confirm whether or not that’s the case.
Female Umusatsi and son Rwema were accidentally found by Pablo’s trackers today. She is far from any gorilla group. The closest group is Bwenge’s but it is still far from her. Her own group, Kuryama’s, is kilometers away. She seems very confident in her travelling, but she was distressed by the trackers and run away. We are happy to have found her healthy and we are confident that she will end up in her group or in another one soon. We don’t have staff available on a daily basis to follow her, as the anti-poaching patrol is involved in overnight patrols with the Rwandan park authority (RDB). We will try to track her as soon as we have a minimum of three field staff available.