Gorilla Doctors sadly confirms the death of the 21-year-old dominant silverback Urugamba passed on 25th/Jan.
He only fell ill the day before and was to receive a veterinary assessment on the fateful day. The cause of death is yet unclear, but his body was carried down the mountain to the Gorilla Doctors compound for the vets to perform a necropsy. Urugamba was the leader of one of the Karisoke research groups, and KRC staff hopes that this will allow some time for the other group members to come to terms with their leader’s death.
Dr. Dawn reports that the other gorillas in Urugamba’s group looked well but there is concern for the group as Urugamba was the only silverback. There are several lone silverbacks ranging near the area at the time and could move in to take the group.
As you may be aware, there are only about 840 mountain gorillas remaining in their natural habitat. These habitats are in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. Gorillas are found in the high altitude forests surrounding these volcanoes. There are currently 7 habituated gorilla families that can be visited in Rwanda: –
Susa group has 37 individuals (3 silverbacks)
Amahoro group has 16 individuals (1dominant male SB & 1assistant BB)
Sabyinyo group has 8 individuals (1SB)
Group 13 has 19 individuals(1 errant SB)
Umubano-8 (1 very tough SB)
Hirwa- 9 (1 ex-Susa SB) also has week old baby
Kwitonda (from Congo) – 16. (1SB 2BB) lots of fights in this family.
This is a migrant family and is not guaranteed.
SB=Silverback. BB=Blackback,young silverback.
In order to minimize behavioral disturbances to the gorillas, only 8 people are allowed to visit each of the families and for a period not exceeding 1hour. This means that only 40 people are allowed in the park daily. The limits serve to protect gorillas from the risk of exposure to human- borne diseases.
More to come soon…
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