Kwitonda gorilla family is believed to have been formed by the silverback which migrated from Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda in 2003. It formed the new family in the new neighborhood due to possibility of pressure from other gorilla families in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The name Kwitonda was originally got from the dominant silverback in this group. Akarevuro who was young in the monarchy of Kwitonda has since taken over the leadership after the death of Kwitonda.
The two other Silverbacks in the group, Kigoma and Magumu also submitted to the fact that Akarevuro had taken over the leadership of the group. Kwitonda was found dead at the age of 40 in 2012, and rangers reported that his health had begun worsening and pressure from the young gorillas also affected him.
The doctors concluded that he died a natural death due to old age and his body was found 10 days after his death in unknown place after he had disappeared from family members. Before his death, Kwitonda had allowed other gorillas to mate with the females of the group in order to increase the number.
It is also believed that he knew he wasn’t strong enough to lead the group yet the group needed to grow due to his deteriorating health. By allowing this, he strengthened the family bondage and every member became close to each other.
In normal circumstances, a mountain gorilla family is led by only one Silverback who definitely has all the rights to mate with other female members of the group. This was strange for Kwitonda and so the young males remained intact in the group. This family is the second largest gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park because it has 33 members including 2 Silverbacks, 3 black backs, 9 adult females, 2 sub-male adults, 6 juveniles and 10 infants.
This family inhabits a place between Mount Gahinga Mount Sabyinyo on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Kwitonda was popular for his relaxed attitude towards fellow gorillas and humans as well. While on your gorilla tour to Rwanda, you are advised to carry appropriate trekking attire such as strong trekking shoes, long sleeved khaki or green shirt/blouse, a pair of trousers, hat, waterproof jacket and more.