Rafiki gorilla has been reportedly missing on June 1 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A search launched the next day found his body located inside the park.
The word Rafiki – means “friend” in Swahili. The Rafiki gorilla was part of the famed Nkuringo gorilla group that lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is popular with tourists.
In a statement, a post-mortem reportedly revealed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device to his abdomen and internal organs.
A man suspected to be his killer was arrested after being caught with bush pig meat and several hunting devices in his possession on June 4.
This suspect confessed to killing Rafiki, but said he did so in self-defense. He told authorities he went with a group to hunt in the park when they came across the group of gorillas. The silverback Rafiki gorilla charged and he speared it, the wildlife authority said in its release.
The released statement further said, the man shared bush pig meat with fellow poachers. The four suspects are awaiting trial, but it is not clear what charges they face.
At the time the Rafiki gorilla died, the Nkuringo group had 17 gorillas. The silverback was the dominant male in the group that also included three blackbacks or younger mature males, eight adult females, two juveniles and three infants, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The group was the first to reside in the southern section of the park that is home to about half of the world’s mountain gorilla population.