Category Archives: Gorillas

Radio Mount Tshiaberimu set to hit the airwaves!

The team at the new radio station will help raise awareness of gorilla conservation

The team at the new radio station will help raise awareness of gorilla conservation

Hi, this is Jean-Claude,

From tomorrow (July 1st), the communities on and around Mount Tshaberimu will finally be able to listen to their own local radio station.

Over the course of 2010, several NGOs, including MISSAF Kyondo and the Gorilla Organization held talks with the district governor, the Honorable Kasereka Wanzavelere, regarding the possibility of launching a not-for-profit station to serve this part of the eastern DRC.

Now, I am delighted to report that, with the funding for this project having been secured, the first proper broadcasts are set to begin. Thanks to the help of our resident radio technician Marcassin Muhindo, we’re ready to take to the airways tomorrow.

This is great news for the communities of the Mount Tshaberimu region, and it’s also excellent news for the endangered mountain gorillas living here. As our work with Radio Cosmos on the edge of the Virunga National Park has shown, educating people about the plight of gorillas is a great way of getting communities involved in conservation efforts.

As you can see in the above picture, the team at the new radio station are raring to get started. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with news about the radio station and how it’s helping us with our valuable work here at Mount Tshiaberimu.

Mukokya Parade highlights ladies’ support for Mt T’s gorillas

Hi, this is Odilon,

Women, and mothers in particular, play a key role in helping communities around Mount Tshiaberimu thrive. And nothing illustrates their importance quite like Sagot, or Solidarity of Friends of Mountain Gorillas Tshiaberimu.

Founded in 2005, this is a network of several grassroots development associations, among them Integration of Women in Development (IFED) and the Association of Legionnaires’ Mothers for Development.

Sagot works to establish and support small-scale community initiatives, such as setting up nurseries where vegetables and fruit trees can be grown, teaching women the importance of sustainable agriculture and educating children how to respect the forests, home of the endangered mountain gorillas.

To mark International Women’s Day 2011, we helped to organise the annual Mukokya Parade – named after one of the mountain gorillas living here at Mount Tshiaberimu – with dozens of mothers dressing up and taking part in a march from the Gorilla Organization’s resource centre.

Here are some photos from this year’s Mukokya Parade. Check out the colourful Gorilla Organization uniforms some of the ladies are wearing!

Ladies supporting gorillas on the annual Mukokya Parade

Ladies supporting gorillas on the annual Mukokya Parade

Dozens of women from communities around Mt Tshiaberimu marched this year

Dozens of women from communities around Mt Tshiaberimu marched this year

Studying Mt Tshiaberimu’s remaining gorillas

Hi this is Jean-Claude,

With the support of the Gorilla Organization and in collaboration with my colleagues and friends at Tshiaberimu, I’m now studying for a master’s degree at Kinshasa University. Why am I doing this? Well, as you all know, the gorillas of Tshiaberimu are under great threat. The number living here fell from 22 to 14 between 2008 and 2009 and for the whole of last year we were unable to maintain complete control of the forest due to the permanent presence of soldiers, who were poaching and even killing people.

Because of this, I have decided to investigate the viability of this small remaining group of gorillas and analyse how the habitat here can help push numbers up. Are they able to enjoy a good quality diet here, for example? Could infectious diseases affect the gorillas? Is it possible to introduce some females? With these questions in mind, I will be conducting a large amount of research, not just for my masters programme, but also for a possible PhD.

I’m very grateful to all of those who are supporting my studies in different ways. In Kinshasa, the Gorilla Organization’s liaison officer Sebu Mugangu has promised to help me with my IT and computer maintenance skills and to help organise local transportation.

Imelda, who is studying for a degree in psychology and who has been following with interest my work with gorillas and local communities has, said she will help by producing a special radio broadcast to raise awareness of the gorillas and help change local people’s attitude to them.

Also, Vital Katembo, who was the first project manager at Tshiaberimu and who is now the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) representative in the DRC, has said I can stay with him and his family in Kinshasa.

I will be sure to keep you all up to date with news of my studies. Thank you!

Greetings from Mt Tshiaberimu

This is Jean Claude
2010 was a difficult year for the MtT project as we worked hard to protect the small
remaining group of gorillas living in Tshiaberimu. Six months were troubled by
rebels but thankfully all the staff here at the project stayed safe.

Our thanks to our colleagues at the Congolese Wildlife Authority, the GO executive team and to the Tshiaberimu blog friends who continue to support the project. Many thanks also to the local communities and chiefs who work with us and contribute to the success of the project.

Two woman are now in training in India to support the gorillas further, you can read more about this on the gorilla blog!

Despite the insecurity the gorillas have been healthy throughout 2010. Just before Christmas there was a battle between two silverbacks and Tsongo suffered some wounds to his face but he is fine!- here are some photos of him after the fight.



Here is a photo of me with some of the team and Emilie who visited our community activities whilst working for the EU projects in the region – thank you so much for coming to see us!



Hello, this is Tuver.

I have just returned from a visit to Mount Tshiabirimu and have some news from the rangers about one of my favourite gorillas Mukokya – a lively young black back male.

You may remember reading on the blog about Mukokya’s sad year last year….. In February his elderly father Nzanzu, with whom he spent all his time, passed away. For a while he travelled alone, but he soon found friendship with the silverback Kanindo. This new pair spent a number of months supporting each other but in July the rangers at MT T were devastated to report the death of Kanindo and Mukokya was again alone.

But since 25 February 2010, the rangers at Mt T have been thrilled to see Mukokya has joined two other gorillas and become part of the Katsavara family. The family is led by the silverback Katsavara and is also home to adult female Mwengesyali – Mukokya’s mother!

Odilon Kataomba, the Gorilla Organization’s head of research at Mount Tshiaberimu is encouraged by the strengthening of this gorilla family – ‘it bodes well for the future’ he tells me.

With so few gorillas remaining at Mt Tshiaberimu their long term survival hangs in the balance, but the changing dynamics of the gorilla groups and the strengthening of their families gives us all hope.

Thank’s for your donation

 Hi,This is Tuver

On behalf of Mount Tshiaberimu guards ,ICCN staff in this sector of Virunga national Park and Gorilla Organization Staff,i thank’s all off you for all donations we gate via wildlifedirect.

We are happy to continue our work and protecting this gorilla habitat whith your support.

Thank’s and we still need your help and more support.

Tuver Wundi

The Gorilla Organization Communications Manager

A farmer from Burusi

Hi,This is Vhosi

Tsangyamuyi is a farmer from Burusi village close to Mount

Tshiaberimu in eastern Congo DR. She has benefited for over three years from the Gorilla Organization-funded programme which shows locals how to grow their own vegetables and trains them in sustainable and pig farming.


As a widow and a mother of five, courageous Tsangyamuyi has benefited from the Gorilla Organization’s livestock distribution scheme. She was given a pig which gave birth to eleven healthy piglets. Villagers now recognise her as a dedicated and experienced farmer within the Burusi village.


Not only does Tsangyamuyi have plans to buy iron roofing sheets to improve her home, but she can now pay for school education for all her five children, where as before she only could pay for two. Some of the pigs will be sold to buy seeds to grow more vegetables and she will use the remaining pigs’ manure to fertilize the crops, a farming technique she was taught as part of the programme.


Tsangyamuyi’s success is a clear testament to the large amount of work the Gorilla Organization has undertaken and the success they have achieved in maintaining the protection of the gorillas from human encroachment and to alleviate poverty in the local communities.

Another Gorilla died at Mont Tshiaberimu

Hi, This is Kyungu

The trackers and vets at Mount T are shocked to report the sad death of a silverback named Kanindo, who died after falling into a ravine at Miamba, a three hour walk from the nearest patrol post at Kalibina. Kanindo fell and lay paralysed at the bottom of the gully for about four days, without food or water. Our trackers noted on 5 July that Kanindo and his juvenile companion Mukokya had not been seen.


Then two days later they saw Mukokya alone. This was not usual, as young Mukokya has been accompanying Kanindo ever since his father Nzanzu died of old age in February. Before that time, Kanindo had been a solitary gorilla. Trackers found Kanindo in a gully on the afternoon of 8 July, but he was unable to move, and they were unable to move him. Vets were called, and they went directly to the place.


The gorilla was howling in pain, and they gave painkillers and antibiotics. Three days this continued, but they were not able to save Kanindo from death, which came on 11 July at around 18:00. Kanindo, the dead gorilla, had been used to human presence thanks to efforts of the Gorilla Organization in this area since 1996 to save what is still left of this part of the park. All of the staff at Mount T are under a cloud of shock and emotions about his death.

Celebrating World Environment Day around Mt T

Hi this is Vhosi, Social Assistant at Mount Tshiabirimu for the Gorilla Organization.

During the first week of June, we observed an ‘Environment Week’, packed full of activities including tree-planting, conferences, film screenings, the airing of broadcasts, drama, and talks with students. The focus was both combating climate change, and promoting the Year of Gorilla 2009.  With the active participation of 72 children from Tuvuke and Buswagha primary schools, in addition to 42 members of SAGoT (Solidarité des Amis des Gorilles de Tshiabirimu) in the villages of Burusi and Buswagha, we planted 1,080 trees as a gesture towards combating climate change. We also distributed 20,087 trees to 80 members of SAGoT, which are to be planted around the gorillas’ habitat.

Children from Burusi

Children from Burusi

The city of Butembo is 60km from Mt T, and its inhabitants consume around 30,000kg of charcoal weekly. Here, we organised a 6km walk at which 120 children from Katsya Primary School carried tree seedlings through the main street of Butembo. Other participants on the walk were The Urban Environment Conservation Authority, members of the ANR (Appui au Reboisement National) and the ACEKAVU (Association des Consommateurs de l’Eau de Katwa et Vuthetse).  The walk ended at the Mayor’s office in Butembo. The Mayor of Butembo welcomed the walkers and congratulated the initiative. He said, “Motor vehicles dominate our economy too greatly. And they, along with the felling of trees have a tremendous impact on the environment. Caring for the natural environment, for example by planting trees, is very positive. This is especially the case when children are involved in the activities, as we need to invest in the future for the  benefit of future generations.” He then led us to the area where we were to plant 1,700 trees (donated by ACEKAVU and ANR) with the help of the UN and police urban officers. The tree-planting took us five hours.

We involved local authorities because transforming hard-set attitudes requires a concerted campaign that is backed by Government and led by NGOs. And effective community groups must act as a catalyst to others. Such education not only increases knowledge, but also improves awareness of the value of trees as an integral part of the natural environment and as an important element of our cultural heritage. This awareness can then be passed on by the students to other sections of the community. The passing on of knowledge from people who have received education to others is an important part of education campaigns. Therefore, we invited three speakers to speak at a conference, with an audience of more than 250 students from four local universities in Butembo City.

In his speech on ‘Climate change – causes, consequences and salvation’,  Professor Vyakuno of the Université Catholique du Graben said, “The forest lights up our life. We are dependent on its bounty for our health, happiness and progress. Deprived of it, we suffer. Deprived of it, we are in darkness. So let us keep the light burning by keeping our forests ever green. The forest is life itself, and our life too. Therefore, we need to plant trees wherever forests have been destroyed”. Then, he congratulated the Gorilla Organization on having led the children and others in the tree-planting effort and for organising the conference.  Dr Mundama, in his speech on the carbon process, invited students to participate in conserving the Earth’s resources. He warned that damage to the vitality and diversity of nature, along with a rapidly increasing population and  the demand for resources are intimately related to poverty and a sub-standard quality of life that affects everybody. He added that we need to be aware of these problems and to identify actions to stabilise population growth and moderate consumption.

Finally, Jean Claude Kyungu informed the students about the illegal fisheries on the west shores of Lake Edouard. He warned that this illegal fishing not only affects the biodiversity of Lake Edouard, but also the economy of local communities and so the vitality of other ecosystems such as Mt T.   We then screened an exciting film about the Great Apes to the attendees.

Two days later, I took two students from Butembo on an education campaign in Masereka Village. There, they were able to pass on  in the local language those messages that they had learnt from the conference in Butembo to more than 500 villagers. The celebration of Environment Day was bright and colourful, with traditional dances and drama being enjoyed by all.  Esdras Kisonia, one of the two students who took part in this education campaign, has dedicated two poems to nature conservation – one regarding the preservation of gorillas and the other regarding the importance of tree planting to combating climate change.

Kyondo, 9th June 2009

Vhosi Jean de Dieu.

Mt. T vehicle meets the end of the road

Hi, this is Jean Claude,

Unfortunately I have some bad news about our patrol vehicle, which is in a pretty bad state.  The truck itself was purchased in 2006 and it is used full time to cover all activities: ration transportation, administrative duties, anti-poaching patrols and helping with a range of community projects around MtT.

Although it appears to be old it really isn’t – it does, however, need to be fully repaired.Unfortunately for over three weeks now there haven’t been any vehicles available at MtT – making it difficult to work. During this insecurity period, we need really a vehicle to patrol the sector.