No doubt apes have their DNA 98% similar to humans because other than the close physical
appearance, these enormous gorillas adopt into leaving collectively together as a family. It is
beguiling the way these gorillas prefer having families with average of about ten members but
some prestigious families can have up to forty members.
The dominant and oldest male silver back usually leads his harem and their off springs by being
protective and making all decisions for the family. While there are currently more than 20
habituated gorilla families in Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has just one troop called
Nyakagezi gorilla family.
A good name is second inheritance that’s why people endeavor to marry from families with well-
established backgrounds and since humans and gorillas are as alike as two peas in a pod, a
beautiful name is something very vital for gorilla families too but Nyakagezi was named after the
place where it was first sighted by a tracker after settling since due to their love for migration,
they usually rotated between Rwanda and D.R. Congo.
A man is judged and known by the company he keeps that’s why Mark the lead silverback has
numerous roles he plays to ensure that the family of 10 doesn’t compromise in any way.
Creatures obviously cannot handle all by themselves hence Mark has his immediate assistant
who happens to be his brother. You would not believe this family lives in peace and harmony
yet it has five silverbacks. Besides Mark and his immediate assistant, the troop has Ndugutse,
Bugingo and Rukundo.
And a surprise above all surprises is that while mark grew a lion heart and over threw Bugingo
who was the lead silverback then, Bugingo wasn’t intimidated in any way by leaving the family
and becoming a loner like most failed gorillas tend to do. The 53-year-old gorilla definitely
learnt to let go in life and accepting defeat because it retained the family group and its now called
mzee. Mzee is a term given to chief elders therefore Mark has an elder he consults incase things
are not moving on as he expected. The harems are Nyiramwiza and Nshuti with their successors
being bay Nshuti, Mutagamba and Fred.
Why Nyakagezi is worth tracking?
It is the only wholly habituated gorilla family group in Mgahinga national park.
The park harbors over 300 mountain gorillas but most of them are leaving in the wild and are not
familiar with humans.
Five male silverbacks in one family are fascinating.
Usually, the is always one head of state and probably a vice to act on his behalf when he can’t,
probably that is what silver back Mark portrays but he has more than one assistant. The beauty
about all these leaders is that none of them struggles for power and they all leave in peace and
The former silverback still lives with the family.
A common vice with silver backs that have been challenged and over thrown is to isolate
themselves and become loners until God decides their fate, but that is a norm that a 53-year-old
Bugingo rebuked from the time Mark released all his supreme powers to himself. He rejected
being a failure and stayed in the family but a blessing in disguise is that he remains a chief elder
of the family.