While Dr. Eddy was on Mt. Tshia last week, Dr. Martin was in the Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park assessing the health of the 31 mountain gorillas in the Lulengo and Mapuwa groups. There was an interaction between the two groups during Dr. Martin’s visit and when he arrived to the group, the four silverbacks were facing off. Dominant silverback Lulengo was outnumbered though, as he faced down the Mapuwa groups silverbacks (Mapuwa, Vuyekure and Mambo). Check out the amazing photos that Dr. Martin took during his health check:
Half of Mapuwa group remained behind silverbacks Mapuwa, Vuyekure and Mambo during the interaction, while the other half moved behind dominant silverback Lulengo. After 45 minutes of posturing, all of the gorillas began to settle down to rest and feed, with the infants and juveniles from either group playing with one another. Adult female Bitangi’s one-month old infant looked to be strong and in good health.
Fortunately, this interaction was peaceful and did not result in any injuries. We look forward to observing how the group demographics shift as these two families continue to range in close proximity.