Kahuzi Biega

Located in the eastern part of DRC near Bukavu town, the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwanda boarder, Kahuzi-Biega National park was established in 1970 by the Belgian conservationist Adrien Deschryver. The park was named after the two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega.

Found within an area of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), Kahuzi-Biega is one of the biggest national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, it is the home of the rare Eastern Lowland gorilla, an endangered rare species under the IUCN Red List.

The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas. A smaller part of this park lies in the range of the Albertine Rift valley and the larger part of it is found in the lowland terrain. On the east part of the park is a smaller mountainous region with the larger part consisting of a lowland stretching from Bukavu to Kisangani, drained by Luka and Lugulu rivers which both flow into Lualaba River. The park has a rich diversity of flora and fauna (about 1178 species of plants, species of mammals and 349 species of birds, as of 2003).

Among the 136 species of mammals found in Kahuzi Biega is the Eastern lowland gorilla. Given the history, this park had 125 lowland gorillas, a big reduction from 600 gorillas of the pre-1990’s conflict period, and consequently the species has been listed in the endangered was registered due to civil wars and conflicts.

This Park lies at the Albertine Rift Valley and the Congo Basin, Kahuzi-Biega National Park is an exceptional habitat for the Eastern lowland Gorillas and protection of the rain forest. The park seats on over 600,000 hectares of land with dense lowland rain forests and Afro- montane forests and bamboo forests with some small areas of sub-alpine prairies and heather on Mounts Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Biega (2,790 m). The Park also contains plant formations, rare worldwide, such as the swamp and bog altitudes and the marshland and riparian forests on hydro morphic ground at all altitudes.

The flora and fauna in this exceptional diversity makes it one of the most important sites in the Albertine rift valley. It’s one of the richest regions (ecologically) in Africa and worldwide. This park has a diversity of mammals than any other place in the Rift valley region. Its habitat for 136 species of mammals which includes the low land gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and other extremely rare species of the eastern forests of the Congo. In 2003, the wildlife Conservation society established a bird list with 349 species of which 42 are endemic.

Eastern low land gorillas

Found in Kahuzi Biega National Park, the Eastern lowland Gorillas are very impressive animals to watch. These magnificent mammals will help you discover the beauty of Africa’s most unique creatures. These primates attract a good number of international tourists increasingly per year the Democratic republic of Congo. The  Eastern low land gorillas is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies.

These gorillas have are so similar to the mountain gorillas however, the Eastern low land gorillas have shorter hair on the head and body but their backs also turn silver as the animal grows. According to the 2004 report, the number of the eastern lowland gorillas has reduced from 5,000 to 3,800 in 2016. It is the largest subspecies of gorilla and the largest living primates weighing 204-250kgs for an adult male and exceptional males weighing 272 kgs. These primates spend long hours feeding on plants every day. Just like mountain gorillas, Eastern lowland gorillas stay in groups for months and years only that their groups are larger in size.

They are highly sociable and very peaceful with the silverback as the leader, the males protect the group from all danger and the females group bonds together by the relationship between the females. Males stay temporarily until they are old enough to attract females, they move away from the big group, go with some adult females and form their own group. The structure of the group is to prevent predation and intrusion from enemies. A female eastern lowland gorilla gives birth to one infant though there are some few cases of twin births. The gestation period is 8½ months. Infants stay with their mothers for three to four years and mature at 8 yrs (females) and 12yrs (males)

Check on the Official site : www.Kahuzibieganationalpark.org

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