Rwanda Mountain Gorillas
Hidden high among the forested volcanoes of East Africa, the mountain gorilla was unknown to science until 1902, when two were first encountered by a German explorer and promptly killed. It set the tone for the relationship. For much of the time since, due to deforestation and poaching, it has seemed that the mountain gorilla was swiftly destined to be lost to the world again. Not long after the species’ greatest champion, the American zoologist Dian Fossey was killed in Rwanda in 1985-there were fewer than 300 of the giant primates left in the wild.
The world has an estimation of 700 remaining mountain gorillas and half of them live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa. The volcanic slopes here are dense with tropical forests and diverse mammal, bird, and reptile species but they are also at the heart of a region in crisis.
Gorillas are always found in a group of communities of up to 30 individuals, though they like climbing trees. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring. The leader organizes troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s 0.75-to-16-square-mile (2-to-40-square-kilometer) home range. Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park, the oldest National Park in Africa, was originally established in 1925 as a conservation area for Mountain Gorillas. It was originally very small, but soon after its establishment was expanded to its current size of approximately 160 km2 and divided over the border between Rwanda and the Congo.
Much of the world’s current knowledge about gorilla families comes from the park’s Karisoke Research Center, established by Dian Fossey, after security concerns drove her team out of the Congo in 1967. Fossey, an American Zoologist, dedicated her life to researching the Mountain Gorillas in the park and protecting them from poachers. Tragically, she was murdered in the park and buried there in 1985.
Mount Karisimbi is named in Kinyarwanda “Amasimbi” which means “white shell”, and the name relates to the white-capped summit which is often seen. Mount Karisimbi is located within the Parc National Des Volcans, and many of the volcanoes are connected by good trails.
Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight volcanoes(Mount Bisoke, Mount Gahinga, Mount Nyamuragira, Mount Muhabura, Mount Mikeno, Mount Sabyinyo, and Nyiragongo) in the Virunga Mountains. It is a huge dome, now dormant, that dominates the range, more in girth than in height. Interestingly, the white cap shell-like top of Mount Karisimbi results not from snow but from hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms.
The highest peak of Mount Karisimbi is at 14,787 feet [4,507 m] reached on a hike at the top of volcanoes national park in Virunga Mountains of east-central Africa. Mount Karisimbi lies on the border of the republics of Congo (Kinshasa) and Rwanda, 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Goma, Congo, in the Virunga National Park. Karisimbi is the habitat of gorillas and is known for its exotic plants; it also has four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the barren volcanic core.