Silverback mountain gorillas are known for their incredible strength, with a single adult male typically leading a group of females and juveniles.
However, a rare and heartwarming case in Rwanda showcases three silverback brothers – Musilikale, Icumbi, and Turakomeje – responsible for leading and protecting a family of 22 female gorillas.
These playful brothers are studied and safeguarded by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which has captured the hearts of many with their touching story.
Founded in 1967 by Dian Fossey, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is committed to conserving mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Grauer’s gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo through research, training local conservationists and collaborating with local communities.
As both species are critically endangered, the organization has trackers and researchers following the gorilla groups daily to ensure their protection.
While mountain gorillas have grown accustomed to human presence, allowing for closer observation of their social behavior, Grauer’s gorillas are monitored from a distance.
The researchers observing Musilikale’s family have captured endearing images of the gorillas’ social interactions.
As the three brothers lead their group searching for food and nesting sites, Icumbi and Turakomeje display a strong bond, often napping and playing together despite their mature age.
Musilikale, on the other hand, focuses on leading and protecting his bonded females, even willing to risk his life for their safety. Male gorillas are known to be nurturing fathers, engaging with juveniles and offering their nests for sleep if a mother is absent.
Sadly, gorillas face significant threats, including poaching, habitat loss, and accidental entrapment in traps meant for other animals.
The mountain gorilla population is endangered, with just over 1,000 individuals, while Grauer’s gorillas, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, are critically endangered, with an unknown but small population.
Supporting the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is one way to help preserve these majestic creatures. The organization is constructing a new Ellen DeGeneres campus in Rwanda to expand its work.
Additionally, animal lovers can “adopt” a gorilla by selecting a favorite from available babies and adults, receiving exceptional images, and the satisfaction of contributing to the protection of this vulnerable species.