Christmas is one of the newly opened gorilla groups in Bwindi impenetrable national park in Nkuringo region. Despite low number of visitors and remoteness, Nkuringo region has grown to become one of the most famous and most sought after gorilla regions in Uganda, opened in 2004 after the successful habituation of its first ever gorilla family, Nkuringo.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the world’s largest and most famous mountain gorilla destination which accounts for over 600 mountain gorillas (50% of world’s total) and with up to 36 gorilla families altogether, but only 16 groups are currently fully habituated for tracking.
Christmas gorilla family is the most recently habituated in Nkuringo sector, with a total of 9 members but only 6 are normally seen by visitors; these are made up of 1 silverback (Christmas), 3 adult females, 1 black back, and 1 baby. The name Christmas was derived from a dominant silverback named Christmas who broke off from the pioneer Nkuringo family to form his own group.
Since Christmas moved away from Nkuringo family with his members; there was no habituation needed since they were all previously habituated from Nkuringo family; therefore, the officials allowed the group to settle as they were monitoring regularly until the group found a permanent residence.
The introduction of this group came at a time when the demand for gorilla trekking permits in Nkuringo region was high and there was need to increase from the previous 8 permits to 16 permits each day.
Christmas gorilla group brought the total number of families in Nkuringo region to 3 plus Bushaho which is still under habituation. The group can now be trekked all year through with trekking permits costing 600$ per person just like any other gorilla group in Bwindi national park.
The other 1 fully habituated gorilla family in Nkuringo region is Nkuringo family – the first gorilla family to be habituated and launched for gorilla trekking in this region in 2004.