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- On June 16, 2020
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UWA personnel on 12th June 2020 arrested four local people suspected to have killed Rafiki silverback gorilla of Nkuringo family in southern Bwindi Forest. The arrest was after post mortem results which showed that Rafiki sustained injuries with sharp objects which penetrated is left part of the abdomen up to the internal organs. An investigation was done to check home of local people living in the national park borders. Among the arrested suspects was Byamukama Felix a resident of Murole village, Ntebeko parish in Nyabwishenya sub county kisoro district, Felix was found with bush meat in his house pus various hunting devices which included spears, wires, snares, dog hunting bell and ropes among others. The home of Felix Byamukama was checked on 4th June 2020. Having been asked several questions, Felix admitted to have killed Rafiki gorilla. However, Byamukama said that he killed the gorilla in self-defense when Rafiki gorilla attacked him. In his confession, Byamukama said that him and his friend Evarist Bampabenda had gone to hunt in the forest when Rafiki gorilla charged and attached them. In self-defense, Felix speared it leading to its death.
Felix further confessed that he shared the gorilla meat with Mubangizi Yonasi and Museveni Valence who are his fellow poachers in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The four poachers were arrested on 7th June 2020 and are currently held in custody at Kisoro policy station awaiting trail. At the moment, the four suspects are help at Kisoro policy station waiting for the trial
Rafiki goes missing
On 1st June 2020, park rangers in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park noticed that Rafiki gorilla was missing in Nkuringo Gorilla family. This called for an extensive hunt in the whole of Bwindi forest and the neighboring communities. The dead body of Rafiki silverback gorilla was found on 2nd June 2020 in Hakabo area inside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Poaching of gorillas in Bwindi Forest
Over the years, poaching has been a major treat to the survival of the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest and other neighboring gorilla parks in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most gorillas are killed by local people for bush meat while others fall victims of snares trapped to catch other wild animals in the forest not necessarily the gorillas. As of the 2018 gorilla census, the world has 1006 mountain gorillas half of which live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The other gorilla live in the Virunga conservation area shared by Mgahinga Gorilla park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other threats to gorilla tourism in Africa include habitat loss, diseases and civil conflicts especially by rebel groups in gorilla parks.
About Nkuringo gorilla family
Nkuringo gorilla family is the oldest gorilla family that was established in 1997 making it the oldest gorilla family in southern Bwindi. At the death of Rafiki gorilla, Nkuringo gorilla family had 17 membrers inclusive of 8 adult females, 3 infants, 1 silverback, 3 black backs and 2 juveniles. Each day, eight people visit Nkuringo gorilla family.
Trekking to see Nkuringo gorilla family
The Uganda gorilla trips to trek Nkuringo gorilla family can be started from Kigali Rwanda or Entebbe International Airport. The drive time from Kigali to Nkuringo sector is roughly 5 hours via Cyanika border. On the other hand, driving from Entebbe International Airport to Nkuringo sector takes a full day via Kampala Masaka Mbarara kabala road. The trek to see Nkuringo gorilla family lasts for between 2 to 8 hours or more. However, travelers are 99% guaranteed to see gorillas at the end of the trek. The 2 Days Uganda gorilla trek starting and ending in Kigali Rwanda is also recommended for you.
Getting ready to trek Nkuringo Gorilla Family
Physical fitness is key for any one visiting Nkuringo gorilla family. The gorilla family is located in the hilly regions of Bwindi, which make it one of the hard to trek gorilla families in Bwindi. Travelers are reminded to practice physical exercises especially hiking to ensure physical fitness. Moreso, travelers visiting Nkuringo gorilla family are reminded to carry enough drinking water and energy giving snacks. Other essentials to pack for Nkuringo gorilla family trekking include:
1. Hiking boots/shoes
2. Gardening gloves
3. Long sleeved shirt
4. Insect repellants
5. Rain jackets/sweater
A 1 Day Uganda gorilla trek starting from Kigali Rwanda starts off at 3:00am driving for 5 hours to Bwindi Forest Nkuringo head quarters. At 7:00am travelers are registered and introduced to the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking. The trek to see gorilla’s starts at 8:00am lasting for between 2 hours to a full day depending on where gorillas will be located that day. After an hour with gorillas, travelers descend and are transferred back to Kigali. Africa Adventure Safaris helps you book and arrange Uganda gorilla tours to Bwindi at affordable rates.
We regret the loss of Rafiki Gorilla. With hands together, lets work to fight poaching and promote sustainable gorilla tourism in Uganda the pearl of Africa.