Category Archives: Virunga National Park

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.

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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!

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MUKOKYA JOINS A FAMILY IN MOUNT TSHIABIRIMU

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.

Memorial marks the one-year anniversary of our murdered ranger friend Safari

 His this is Vhosi

Kakule Safari was murdered on January 8th, 2009 at Mulango wa Nyama Patrol Post(Mount Tshiabirimu) when his group was attacked by rebel militia. He was then buried on January 10th,2009 at their family graveyard in Musienene village. He left three orphaned children and a widow.

Safari had worked on the Gorilla Organization programme at Mount T for more than three years. 

Recently at Mount Tshiabirimu people commemorated the one year anniversary of Safari’s murder.

A team of Mount T workers organised a meditative visit to Safari’s grave. Then a mass was said at Burusi by a priest from Kyondo Parish, and scores of people from villages surrounding Mount T attended. The mass was sung by a choir (called ‘Sacre Coeur de Jesus’) from Kyondo parish too.

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The local Community Based Organisations and the MtT workers collected some money to pay for a party where all the park workers and local villagers could come together. 

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We also thought of Nicolas Vighanzire and prayed for his ghost’s rest. Nicolas was a WWF volunteer and was assassinated on May 20th, 2007 at Burusi Ptrol Post( MtT) from an assault by unknown armed people. I was there in that attack myself, and survived it although I was shot in the leg. But I saw Nicolas giving up the ghost. He left behind his pregnant wife who gave birth to a lonely boy six months later. They are both healthy.

Thus, we prayed both for the ghosts’ rest of Safari and Nicolas, and for the peace at MtT. We hope the best both for people and the gorillas as every cloud has a silver lining.

Emirembe oko Bandu n’oko Ngayi e’ Kyabirimu, n’oko bosi abakawatikaya e’Gorilla Organization 

( Peace to MtT people and gorillas, and to all those who have been funding the GO field projects and to the HQ GO Team).

Vhosi

Monkeys survey

Hi This is Vhosi

Gorillas are not the only primates who live at Mount Tshiabirimu. Their monkey cousins live there too, but nobody knows very much about how many there are or where they actually live.

Starting last week a research team is involved in an expedition at Mount Tshiabirimu for a monkey survey. Researchers will be able to determine the monkeys’ abundance and their distribution in the gorillas’ habitat at Mount Tshiabirimu.

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Some people have been saying that the monkeys are greedy and eat too much food, which risks creating hunger for the other primates. We think that after a year we will know more about how many monkeys there are in the gorilla habitat, what they eat and how they are distributed there.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sad news from Tshiaberimu

Hello, this is Tuver.

I hate to have to bring you bad news from Mount Tshiaberimu again. After the excitement of the new baby gorilla, I am pained to announce that the baby died. Sadly this is not unusual for gorillas, who have an extremely high mortality rate of 30%.

Shortly after we heard of the death of this precious new baby, I was devastated to hear about the death of another Mt Tshiaberimu gorilla – the magnificent Silverback Nzanzu. Nzanzu was an elderly silverback, who lived with his son Mukokya. While an autopsy is being carried out on his body, with the help of MGVP, we believe he died from old age.

Nzanzu was part of the original Kipura family, which split in 2002 allowing Nzanzu to form the Lusenge family with adult female Mwengesyali and their son Mukokya. This new group lived happily until 2007 when Mwengesyali left to form the Mutsunga group, leaving Nzanzu and his son Mukokya alone. In recent months the rangers had have been reporting that Nzanzu was looking increasingly old.

While this is very sad news for Mt Tshiaberimu, at least we can feel reassured that these two gorillas, at different stages of their lives, died naturally in their home environment.

Here is a photo of Nzanzu, taken in 2006.

Nzanzu

Update after Tshiaberimu attacks

Hello this is Jean Claude. Since Safari Kakule, the head of monitoring at Mount Tshiaberimu, was murdered by militia on 8 January, we have been working hard to bring peace again to Tshiaberimu and ensure that those responsible for the attacks are caught.

On 28 January we arrested a man who was responsible for planning the tragic attack. The rangers based at Mulango wa Nyama carried out the arrest with the support of a team of rangers from the advanced force.

He was arrested at Nguli and then transferred to the public prosecution department in Beni by Director Mushenzi.

This man’s brother was responsible for planning the attacks last year, that led to the death of a WWF employee at Tshiaberimu. We sincerely hope that justice is done.

Since the recent attacks there has been a constant feeling of fear in the region. The wives of the rangers fled the camps and are staying in villages around the region.

Safari’s widow, is staying in Butembo, 53km from Tshiabirimu. Yesterday my wife arranged for the wives of the other rangers, and some women from Burusi village, to visit Safari’s widow and her three children to offer moral comfort and support. She was presented with a sack of coals, a sack of potatoes and a few kilos of peas. This is a very difficult time for this brave lady and all women in this area.

The women spent all day discussing the difficulties of working life at Tshiaberimu and expressed their support and gratitude to each other. This support network is very important during the difficult periods in DR Congo.

I will keep you updated if I have any more news.

Tshiaberimu gorilla sector under attack

Hello, this is Tuver. I am a colleague of Jean Claude, working for the Gorilla Organization in Goma. At midnight last night I received a devastating phone call from Jean Claude. One of the Tshiaberimu patrol posts was violently attacked by Mai Mai militia.

The head of monitoring was shot and he is now missing, we are extremely concerned for his safety.

Early this morning 15 ICCN rangers, accompanied by ICCN director Mushenzi traveled to Tshiaberimu to support Jean Claude. This area is very remote so it will take some time for the emergency reinforcements to arrive.

Jean Claude is doing all he can to investigate this situation and keep the staff safe. I have no other information to report now but as soon as I hear from Jean Claude I will let you know.

This is terrible news for Tshiaberimu and we are extremely worried about all the staff and the Tshiaberimu gorillas.