Primate species in Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed with a total of 22 primate species such as mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, Central African red colobus monkey, Dent’s Mona monkeys, blue monkeys, red- tailed monkeys, Eastern Lowland Gorillas, Hamlyn’s monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboon, and the mantled guereza.
Yes, Virunga national park hosts a third of the world’s population of mountain gorillas and the park is also a home to orphaned mountain gorillas of Virunga, located adjacent to Mikeno lodge (Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center). The Senkwekwe is rehabilitation center is situated at the park’s headquarters in Rumangabo.
The following are key primates species in Virunga national park;
Virunga National Park is home to approximately a third of mountain gorillas, which reside in the tropical rain forests and slopes of Virunga volcanoes. Currently, the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga Massif has grown from 480 to 604 individuals.
Virunga national park has a total of 8 gorilla families which include; The Kabirizi Family, Bageni Family, Mapuwa Family, Rugendo Family, Lulengo Family, Munyaga Family, Humba Family and Nyakamwe Family
Chimpanzees are one of the five species of great ape that live in Virunga national park and can be seen in the Mahura forest of the Rumangabo sector.
Travelers interested in meeting the chimpanzees in Virunga national park are advised to book habituation experience and this activity starts as early as 4:30 am. Only 4 tourists are allowed to visit the chimps of Virunga national park at a cost of USD 100 per person per trek.
There are limited tour packages offered by the Virunga national park; offering the chimpanzee habituation experience of Mahura forest. These packages include the Great ape package that takes a minimum of 5 days, 11 days Virunga expedition package, and the 10 days Rutshuru package
Eastern Lowland Gorillas
Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Grauer’s Gorilla) in Virunga national park occupy 13% of the historical Virunga national park however, their population has kept on decreasing to a greater extent of about 50% ever since the mid-90s due to several factors including civil wars, poaching, inbreeding, and destruction of habitat due to agriculture, mining and logging. Well; The largest population of Eastern lowland gorillas in DR Congo live in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
The lowland gorillas of Virunga can be seen in a small and isolated forest located on Mount Tshiaberimu and covers an area of 77 square km, located northwest of Lake Edward.
In order to encounter the challenges facing Eastern lowland gorillas, wildlife conservation bodies such as Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), International Gorilla Conservation Program, WWF, Dian Fossey Fund and German Development Agency have helped re-arm guards to conserve and protect the gorillas in DR Congo.
Golden monkeys are some of the primate species that can be seen in Virunga national park. Travelers during Congo safari adventures can be able to book golden monkey tracking though rarely done. The golden monkey tracking safari in Virunga national park is quite unmatched because of the rewarding views and attractions that can be seen during the activity. Yes, Virunga national park hosts the largest number of golden monkey troops in Africa compared to other national parks where the golden monkeys are seen.