My name is Albert Sebagabo and I work at Rumangabo station. I was born in Rugari in 1964. I am married to Severine Nyiramahane and we have nine children: five boys and four girls. My father was Station Chief at Jomba Patrol Post. I used to follow his every move; he was always telling me how great the park was.
It was around 1984, when I was still at secondary school, in the 4th year I think, that I got a job offer from the ICCN. It was a golden opportunity to follow in my father’s footsteps and I simply had to take it. I finished my studies and joined the Park Rangers. My father was one of those who habituated the Rugabo family. The Silverback and his family were named after the former station chief at Rumangabo: Mwami Ndeze Rugabo.
Anyway, I was sent straight to the Mikeno sector to cut tracks because I knew the territory. The Rugabo family was a fine sight to see: 26 gorillas! I remember one day we had spent the whole day looking for the gorillas and then we heard the most enormous roar from Rugabo. We didn’t follow the sound because he was obviously angry and we knew he wasn’t very habituated, so it simply wasn’t a good idea. The patrol leader decided that we would come back early the next day and see what had happened. We went back, first thing, but we were unable to find the family. The day passed without us finding Rugabo or his family and we were anxious.
Two days later we divided into two groups in order to cover the area. Semahore, another Ranger and I searched thoroughly for four hours until we came upon the family. Strangely, Rugabo was furious. It turned out that one of the younger gorillas, Lulengo, had got his hand caught in a metal trap that was attached to the branch of a tree and fixed firmly into the ground. Rugabo, with tremendous strength, broke the branch. Lulengo was free to move but still had the trap attached to his hand. After this the whole family took off and we couldn’t keep up with them.
The next day we decided that we needed to remove the trap from Lulengo’s hand. Everything was quiet when we caught up with the family. The guide said that I should approach Lulengo very carefully while he distracted Rugabo. I hid behind a tree and, luckily, Lulengo’s trapped hand trailed past close by. I grabbed the metal fastener of the trap. He didn’t know what was happening and struggled hard as he tried to join the rest of the group. He pulled so hard that he left half his finger in the trap. I looked at the finger and saw that it was already decomposing. He didn’t cry or bleed: he just looked at his hand and ran off to join the rest of the family. I am proud to say that today Lulengo is a Silverback and the head of a great family of his own.
My name is Albert Sebagabo and I work at Rumangabo station. I was born in Rugari in 1964. I am married to Severine Nyiramahane and we have nine children: five boys and four girls. My father was Station Chief at Jomba Patrol Post. I used to follow his every move; he was always telling me how great the park was