Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) released a statement on 12th June 2020 of the death of Nkuringo group silverback famously called Rafiki who was the only silverback in the group. Postmortem results indicated that the cause of death was injury from a sharp object on the left upper abdomen that raptured the internal organs. The object is suspected to have been a spear by poachers.

According to UWA, four suspected poachers have been arrested in connection with this incident.

Rafiki (Swahili for friend) joined Nkuringo group sometime in 2003 as a blackback. He was a peaceful gorilla who never charged at anyone and was always a peacemaker in the group.

Nkuringo group was habituated in 1997 and forages around Nkuringo region in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The group had previously lost another silverback in May 2019 making this loss doubly hard. The group now consists of 16 mountain gorillas: 3 blackbacks, 8 adult females, 2 juveniles, and 3 infants. The untimely death may cause the group to fracture if a new leader does not immediately fill the void left by Rafiki.

As Dream Treks Africa, we are suddened and mourn with UWA and the entire conservation fraternity on this sad news. Mountain Gorillas are critically endangered and a loss of a group leader is a major blow. May justice prevail and culprits reprimanded according to the laws.

Thursday, September 10, 2020