Driven to the brink of extinction, the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda, live a solitary existence. There are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, and that’s exactly what makes this story so remarkable.
The protagonist of the story, a female mountain gorilla names Isaro, is a young and proud 16 year old mother. She had disappeared from the forest, and that was bad news.
Trackers from “Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International”, a group dedicated to keeping watch over the gorillas, were worried when they weren’t able to find her.
When they finally did find her, it was a very, very strange sight. She was nursing twin babies.
The shy group of gorillas doesn’t usually allow researchers to observe glimpses of their lives, but the proud mother gorilla couldn’t help but show off her twins to the world.
Getting even closer, we can see that she’s carrying not one, but two little babies in her arms.
Isaro lives in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, with 480 other solitary gorillas.
480 may seem like a big number, but there are only 880 mountain gorillas alive on the planet! The huge primates are almost extinct, but there is still hope.
Mountain gorillas are very protective of their newborn children, because sometimes they don’t survive past their first year. But, luckily, Isaro already has experience of raising children. She already has two children, a 3 year old and a 6 year old.
Mountain gorillas normally don’t accept help from other members of their group when their babies are so young, but here we can clearly see that Isaro lets the older brother, Icyororo, take a close look at his little siblings.
Researchers think that Isaro is doing a great job with her newborn babies. The twins are the same size, meaning she is feeding them both equally.
The babies have also begun developing typical mountain gorilla traits. The top part of their heads has begun to fill up with thick crowns of curly hair.
The research team says that these twins are one of three registered cases that have survived among the total mountain gorilla population. Isaro’s situation is surprising and unique.
“The birth of twins, in many ways, is a gift”, said Veronica Vecellio, program manager at the Fossey Foundation. “Firstly, for the sheer beauty of nature, and also to remind us of how vulnerable and precious the gorillas are”.
Isaro is fiercely dedicated to her babies. If her previous success raising babies is an indication of the kind of mother she’ll be with her twins, then they have a great chance of survival…