A 25-year-old male gorilla killed by poachers in Uganda

A 25-year-old male gorilla killed by poachers in Uganda
Image: ALLAN CARLSON, WWF

A well-known mountain gorilla was murdered by poachers. Water was poured into the years of efforts to save them, who had gone one step before extinction.

Ugandan authorities have arrested four men on suspicion of killing Rafiki, the boss of a 25-year-old silverback who has led a herd of 17 animals in Bwindi Primeval National Park in the western part of the country since 2008. It was announced by the Uganda Wildlife Service on June 12.

Rafiki, which was popular with tourists, died of wounds that were speared in the abdomen by poachers and reached internal organs, according to an autopsy report. The last time a mountain gorilla was killed by human hands was in 2011.

Rafiki’s flock was also eaten outside the national boundaries and was “a symbol in terms of coexistence with humans,” says Anna Behm-Masozella, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. “Rafiki’s death and the circumstances surrounding it are serious. He was the only male of the only herd in the face of the park.”

Killing of endangered species

Rafiki lost his whereabouts on 1 June and the search party had found his body, which had been cut the next day. When rangers tracked one of the suspects to a neighboring village, they found a suspect with a trap, spear, and bell attached to a hound collar in addition to bush meat. The suspect, along with three others, was hunting Rafiki in the national park and said he killed him in self-defense because Rafiki attacked him.

Under Uganda’s strict domestic law, conviction of killing an endangered species would result in a life sentence or a fine of 5.4 million dollars.

In Bwindi, conservationists and government officials feared that people who were in trouble with the new Corona could engage in poaching. National parks have been closed due to a country curfew, and eco-tours to see wild gorillas, the main source of income for gorilla conservation, have also been suspended. Rafiki was not killed because of Bushmeat, but that was the last thing that happened.