Beloved Silverback gorilla, Rafiki killed by hunters - National | NTV

Beloved Silverback gorilla, Rafiki killed by hunters

By Benjamin Jumbe

Friday June 12, 2020

Rafiki, the silverback of Nkuringo gorilla group 

Uganda wildlife Authority (UWA) personnel have arrested four poachers in the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Their arrest followed the death of a gorilla known as Rafiki, the Silverback of the famous Nkuringo group.

Investigations into the Silverback’s death after a post-mortem report revealed that it sustained an injury by a sharp device/object that penetrated its left upper part of the abdomen up to the internal organs.

Those arrested included Felix Byamukama a resident of Murole village, Nyabwishenya Sub County, Kisoro District who was found in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting devices including a spear, rope and wires snares as well as a dog hunting bell recovered from his home on June 4, 2020.

The suspect confessed to killing the gorilla in self-defense by spearing it after it charged at him and his colleague Evarist Bampabenda with whom he had gone hunting in the park when they came into contact with the group.

He revealed that he shared some of the bush pig meat with Valence Museveni and Yonasi Mubangizi, whom he said were fellow poachers who were all arrested on June 7, 2020 by the UWA team working with the LCI chairperson of Murole village Mr Pascal Ngabirano.

The UWA communications manager Bashir Hangi says the four suspects are currently detained at Kisoro Police station awaiting trial in the courts of law.

On June 1, 2020, Rafiki, the silverback of Nkuringo gorilla group was reported missing in the group and the following day UWA team mounted a search. They instead found its body in Hakato area inside the park.

Nkuringo is the first gorilla group to be habituated in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1997.

At the time of Rafiki’s death, the group had 17 members; 1 silverback, 3 blackbucks, 8 adult females, 2 Juveniles and 3 infants.

Mr Hangi says the authority is monitoring the group to ensure it is ready for tourism when the park reopens to the public.