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This mountain gorilla family miraculously formed after mountain gorillas from the Sabyinyo family and group 13 (Agashya family) came together to form a joint gorilla family (Hirwa), which means the lucky one.

More members joined the family and now it has a total of 13 mountain gorilla members including a dominant silverback, 3 female mountain gorillas, 2 juveniles and 3 young ones. The dominant silverback is very strong and determined to protect all the individual mountain gorilla members in the family.


There are two reasons for which this group is named after a Kinyarwanda word which means lucky. For starters, it is one of the only 7 groups in Virunga region that has twins. This is a big deal considering gorillas depend on big numbers for protection.

The group is led by Uburanga. He took leadership of this group after the death of its group leader Munyinya on February 21st, 2019. Munyinya succumbed to a prolonged illness and he died in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Tracking the Hirwa Family

The Hirwa group was opened to gorilla watching in July 2006. It was named Hirwa at the third edition of the Kwita Izina held that year.

Tourists who track the Hirwa Family are also lucky ones! Most times of the year, tourists have a great probability of finding all its 13 members. This is due to that the members of the family have a strong solidarity and always stick together even in the heat of anger.

Their preferred location is mountain Sabinyo where they have been roaming freely since their break off from Sabyinyo group and Agashya group some years back.