LEADERSHIP IN THE GORILLA FAMILIES
Oh! What a time blast! Sharing time with mountain gorillas in the wilds of Africa’s rainforests is absolutely magical. Mountain gorillas are uniquely characterized by their sheer beauty and brawn, soulful brown eyes, their astonishingly human-like expressions or their extraordinarily gentle demeanor. An encounter with them that lasts for one precious hour but with an extended experience in an exciting evolution in gorilla tracking. We explore leadership in the gorilla families.
Mountain gorillas with human-like uncanny traits also have an elder in the family group called a silver back and have an organised structure of leadership in the gorilla families. This silverback is the leader of the gorilla family group. The palsy-walsy family groups are headed by a main dominant silverback. This silver back is a mature male. He is the one to select places for the group to eat and sleep. He is entitled to several privileges. Among the many privileges are entitlement to feed first. However, in exchange for the privileges, he safeguards all the family group members from any form of harm. If the group is threatened, the heavyweight silverback will defend them to the death. If it is the last resort. Failure to defend his family group or submission to the defeat from the stronger opponents has implications too. These implications include; losing the dominance, grabbing of the family group members, lose his female to the ones who defeated him. And many others outcomes attached to the defeat.
In these structures of leadership in the gorilla families, Mountain gorillas too maintain the hierarchy of command (the protocol). A clear hierarchy is importantly observed within the gorilla family. On top of the hierarchy is the dominant silverback who enjoys the highest rank. The adult females rule over the younger ones. The silverback highest rank is achieved based on the several traits. For one to lead the family group, that male gorilla should be big and large enough in size. Male mountain gorillas can weigh up to 200 kg and can reach 1.70 meter when they’re standing upright. Besides the strength they also have to prove their experience and abilities. It is their duty to protect their family from danger and intruders. It is not difficult to figure out where the name silverback comes from. Around the age of 12 years, they develop light grey hair on their back, giving them a ‘silver back.
After the first group was habituated in Bwindi, the family group named Mubare was led by Ruhondeza. After his consistent defeat, grabbing of his family members, he left the family and his Kanyonyi son took over to lead the family in June 2012 after the death of his father. But even before, he fought those who annexed his father’s family group. Nyakagezi gorilla family group is led by Mark who is the dominant silverback. He took over form Bigingo, who is still alive but the oldest family member. Kahungye family is led by Rumanzi who has been dominant since habituation. This must be a dictator! Bweza family Kakano is the silverback of the group. Kyaguliro is currently under contentious leadership of young Mukiza, whose authority is being contested by an immigrant silverback from Bitukura family. For Nkuringo family, Rafiki has been the dominant silverback for almost a decade. Rushegura family is led by Kabukojo following the death of predecessor or Mwirima in March 2014. Kabukojo has a younger brother Kalembezi who helps him co-lead the family. And several other silver backs
For you to see the dominant silverback that is a leader for the family group in the mountain gorillas, kindly contact us for the ultimate gorilla trekking safari that will give you the best opportunity to see this giant, systematic leader of the gorilla family that you will happen to track. What an experience you will accrue as you see the main man of the family group acting all gentle, smart, and diplomatic. Everything done around him is conducted out with some form of respect observed because papa is in the house.
For any other inquiries about what could have been left out as far as the ruling and the leadership of the gorilla family groups are concerned, contact us at Jewel safaris and we shall surely attend to you.