Pablo: What you should know about this legendary gorilla group


Record-breaking gorilla group

Pablo gorilla group lives in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda where it has existed for more than 25 years. In 2006, the group reached a record-breaking size of 65 gorillas, the highest number ever been recorded of any mountain gorilla family. As the group grew larger and larger, it came to a point when there were many too many gorillas for one dominant silverback to manage. This led to a sequence of events in which other silverbacks in the group gained some power to attract females and form their own groups. Some males started by living on the periphery of their native group as they tried to attract females while others split with females and formed their new groups right away.

Alliance with other groups

Recently trackers found out that Pablo group has been in close proximity with another group led by silverback Musilikale which was formed following a split from Pablo’s group in 2013. Although the two groups live in close proximity with each other, this has not resulted into any direct interaction between their members. This has been interpreted by trackers as a measure of avoiding conflict between the two groups or even creating alliances. The familiarity factor among the group members has been attributed to for their peaceful co-existence. Another important factor to note regarding these two groups is that all silverbacks are sons of one the legendary silverback, Cantsbee.

The two groups were on several occasions last year seen living less than 100 meters apart but surprisingly still there was no sign of interaction or confrontation between them. On one accession, one of the females from Musilikare group transferred quietly and joined Pablo’s group and this did create any instability between the groups.

Mother and daughter raising their offspring at the same time

A pair of mother and daughter raising their respective offspring at the same time is another wonder found in Pablo’s group. Trackers recorded that female gorilla Gutangara, 35 and her daughter Shishikara, 11, both gave birth one apart in 2019. The pair already had a close relationship and used to spend a lot of time together and seeing them raising their newborns at the same time is simply fascinating. Experienced Gutangara is a mother is a mother 0f 7 of which are in Pablo’s group while the rest left the group and moved out. On the other hand, Shishikara is a brand new mother.

Multiple subordinate silverbacks to the leader

Gicurasi is the dominant and leading silverback of Pablo group. The second in ranking is 16-year-old Dushishoze who is also a son of Cantsbee. He is fully trusted by Gicurasi who has put him in charge of detecting danger and assistant when facing intrusion. Shishikara lives a low profile life, spending most of his time on the periphery of the group; he is always last when the group is moving and has a very limited access to females. 14-year-old Ubwuzu, a grandson of Cantsbee is the third in ranking and he is less shy and a very active surdodinate. He has a very good relationship with leader Gicurasi which allows him to show off to females in the group. Number four is silverback Agahebuzo, 13, another son of Cantsbee who is just maturing from adolescence. He observes the fact that there are other 3 silverbacks above him and he respects them well.

Pablo inherited the group from Cantsbee

The current leader of the Pablo group, Gicurasi succeeded Pablo himself who also inherited leadership from the legendary Cantsbee. Pablo had dominated the group for one year after which he yielded leadership to Cantsbee. He then stayed in the group as second in command and remained well respected.