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Africa News of Friday, 12 June 2020

Source: bbc.com

Uganda poachers kill famous mountain gorilla

Four men are in police custody in Uganda suspected to have killed a well-known silverback mountain gorilla in the south-western Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Rafiki was the head of a 17-member group, the oldest to ever be habituated in the country.

There are at least 19 such groups in Uganda, each one led by a male silverback.

Rafiki, estimated to be 25 years old, was reported missing on 1 June and his body found the following day. He had been injured in the upper left part of the abdomen.

According to a statement from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the suspects claim they were out hunting, when they came across Rafiki and his group. It then charged at them, and one of the men speared it in self-defence.

Officials say hunting tools, including snares and spears, were recovered from one of the suspects’ homes.

The suspects are awaiting appearance in court.

Uganda is home to more than half of the just over 1,000 surviving mountain gorillas.

The endangered species are found in the country’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mghahinga National Park, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Habituated mountain gorillas, unlike their wild counterparts, are used to human presence around them making gorilla tracking a valuable tourism experience and a key income earner for the region.

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