Lulengo is one of the 8 habituated gorilla families that inhabit the famous Virunga national park in eastern D.R. Congo. This park forms part of a huge bio-diverse conservation area (Virunga) which is shared among three countries – Uganda, D.R. Congo and Rwanda.
The Virunga conservation area encompasses up to 8 volcanic mountains as well as 3 iconic national parks, namely Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in D.R. Congo.
Virunga national park is home to up to eight gorilla families, each with its own characteristics and uniqueness. These include Lulengo, Rugendo, Humba, Kabirizi, Bageni, Nyakamwe, Mapuwa and Munyaga. Lulengo in particular is a magnificent gorilla family to visit, given its rich history and calmness. The group is located within the Jomba region of Virunga national park, near Bunagana (D.R. Congo – Uganda) boarder.
Then known as Rugabo group, the habituation of Lulengo family began way back in 1985 under silverback Rugabo, who was later short dead, together with other two female gorillas in 1994 during the Great Lakes Refugee Crisis. During this same attack, a juvenile named Mvuyekure was kidnapped by poachers with an intention of smuggling it into Uganda for sell; but luckily, Mvuyekure was rescued and his abductors were imprisoned and charged.
After the demise of Silverback Rugabo, the group was left under the leadership of his growing sons; Pili Pili, Mareru and Lulengo who was a grown black back. Lulengo soon took over power and has been at the helm of this group for a couple of decades.
Comprised of only 12 members, the group was later named Musekura, although this was later changed to Lulengo in remembrance of the official director of Virunga national park who was killed by a land mine in his quest to conserve this biologically diverse area.
Subsequent attacks from other Silverbacks saw the group loose some of its members to other families; for example, Mapuwa and Rugendo groups managed to take over some members during the 1998 interaction with Lulengo family. Currently, Lulengo family is made up of 11 members, including 1 silverback (Lulengo), three adult females, one sub-adult female, three juveniles and three babies.