Traveling to see the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa is one of the most interesting adventure activities offered in the upcoming destinations of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On our recent birding trip in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of the mountain gorillas, we got the chance to track the habituated gorilla group of Mubare. Mubare is one of the tren habituated gorilla families that is open to tourists interested in watching these endangered giants. During our gorilla safari into the Impenetrable Forest, we got the chance to watch the Mubare group and Kashundwe the female adult gorilla turned out to be one of the most fascinating apes i have ever seen.
The name Kashundwe is in Rukiga, the local language of the neighboring tribes that live adjacent to the forest. Kashundwe means wart so, the gorilla Kashundwe can be easily identified from wart on her face. It is estimated to be more than 30 years old by the Gorilla Doctors, an NGO that works towards conserving the few remaining population of the mountain gorllas in the world. Her father and mother are not known at the moment- her parents are expected to have died some years back. Kashundwe is a member of Mubare gorilla group and is the number one mama in the group and has been known to take the lead when Ruhondeza’s languid ways get the better of him. It doesn’t last long though, for Ruhondeza’s known to thump his chest to let his family know who’s in charge and she has to fall in line and follow him.
Kashundwe is expected to be the mother of gorilla – Malaika, another fascinating young gorilla within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
This old gorilla has seen her fair share of sorrow. Who can tell which of her sons went for a walk with Ruhondeza and never came back? Recently she has suffered double tragedy with the death of the other Adult Female of the group – Kashongo and her baby in February 2009, and more recently with the death of her eight-month old infant in July 2009. Though Kashundwe has seen all tragedies and sorrowful moments, it is one of the most entertaining gorillas in Mubare group, and many travelers have fallen in love with her.