Rafiki, Rare Silverback Mountain Gorilla in Uganda, Killed by Poachers at UNESCO Park

Uganda Wildlife Authority
Rafiki was thought to be 25 years old when he died

One of Uganda’s best known mountain gorillas, Rafiki, has been killed.

Four men have been arrested, and they face a life sentence or a fine of $5.4m (£4.3m) if found guilty of killing an endangered species.

Investigations showed that Rafiki was killed by a sharp object that penetrated his internal organs.

There are just over 1,000 mountain gorillas in existence and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) described Rafiki’s death as a “very big blow”.

The silverback, believed to be around 25-years-old when he died in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, was the leader of a group of 17 mountain gorillas.

This group was described as habituated, meaning that its members were used to human contact.

“The death of Rafiki leaves the group unstable and there is the possibility that it could disintegrate,” Bashir Hangi from the UWA told the BBC.

“It has no leadership at this time and it could be taken over by a wild silverback.”

If that happened, the group would not want to come into contact with humans, which ultimately could affect tourism.

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SOURCE: BBC