In Uganda, a 25-year-old rare silverback mountain gorilla referred to as Rafiki, was killed this week by hunters in Uganda. It is believed there are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas in existence, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority described the gorilla’s death as a “very big blow.”
According to the press release from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rafiki had been the leader of a group of 17 gorillas in the protected area of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The gorillas were accustomed to humans.
Rafiki’s death may impact the social order of the other gorillas, thus affecting future tourism which is very important towards the existence of the park.
Four men have since been arrested. One of the men, Byamukam Felix, was found in possession of bush pig meat and a spear, rope, snares and other hunting equipment. He confessed to killing Rafiki, but insisted it was in self defense, and stated he had been in the park with other hunters and poachers when the silverback charged at him.
Rafiki’s body was discovered in the park; a necropsy revealed he died from a sharp object penetrating his internal organs.
The four suspects are being held in custody and face life in prison and a fine of $5.4 million if found guilty of killing a rare and endangered animal.
Rest in peace Rafiki.
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