Yesterday, young silverback Bageni from the Kabirizi family lost a battle with solitary silverback Mukunda and died. Two weeks earlier he was involved in another fight that left him with cuts and bruises, but nothing too serious. We wanted to keep an eye on him, however, and so some rangers were there on the day of the fight. Although they shouted and threw sticks in the hopes of stopping Mukunda, they were unsuccessful.
Villagers carried Bageni’s body back to Bukima Patrol Post where MGVP vets waited to perform a necropsy on the gorilla. This is always done (if it’s possible to recover the body of the gorilla) to learn whatever they can about the cause of death and other diseases. The vets worked from 5 pm to 11 pm, with the assistance of one of our rangers, and were up again at 6 am to clean up, load the gorilla into their car and drive back to Rumangabo for a burial in the gorilla cemetery.
Many of the staff at Rumangabo came for the burial. Although gorillas are wildlife like buffalo, elephant, and bushbuck, they are different somehow – intelligent creatures, with striking similarities to humans. Each is valuable.