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Not Enough Bamboo Shoots in the KBNP?

Not Enough Bamboo Shoots in the KBNP?


Recently I visited the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, more precisely, the gorilla group of Cimanuka. All gorillas in the highland sector of the KBNP, living in groups or living alone: they move around and feed according to the food availability. It’s their annual habit.

For instance they leave the secondary forest and move into the bamboo forest from September to November every year. Their travel is meaningful. They go and scratch the ground early September trying to get young bamboo shoots. In mid-October, bamboo shoots reach about a half a meter at height and are consumed by gorillas so much. Gorilla individuals leave the bamboo forest around the end of November when the shoots become too tough to break.

This year has been a surprising one in term of bamboo growth. I found only a few bamboo shoots in this forest. Gorillas went earlier into the bamboo forest, spent some time traveling long distance while scratching the ground but they could only get the bamboo shoots in very little quantity. They all could not spend three months in the bamboo forest, and rather they left there in mid-October and moved back to the secondary forest via the swamps.

The reason for the less bamboo shoots remains unknown. It is observed that the bamboo forest in the KBNP has been disappearing year by year and being replaced by the secondary forest vegetation. Bamboo shoots are very nutritious and gorilla’s favorite food. What shall be the life of gorillas in the future if they miss the bamboo shoots for a long time?

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