A poacher who confessed haing killed Rafiki, a 25-year-old silverback gorilla in Bwindi has been sentenced to serve 11 years in Prison. The poacher who was arrested by the Uganda Wildlife Authority on June has been sentenced on charges of illegally entering a protected area and killing a gorilla.
Rafiki who was the head of a gorilla group in the southwestern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, was killed with a spear in early June. A Ugandan court has sentenced a poacher to 11 years in prison for killing a rare, endangered mountain gorilla. The poacher by names of Byamukama Felix was not only accused of killing a gorilla but also found in possession of bush pig and antelope meat.
Mr. Felix confessed that he had gone hunting with another poacher when they came across the group of gorillas. Rafiki charged at him and he killed the silverback with a spear in self defence. Despite the fact that Mr. Byamukama killed the Rafiki in defense, he did not deny it thus resulting his punishment of 11 years in prison.
The sentence has left conservationists happy!
Sam Mwandha the UWA executive director said that they are relieved since Rafiki gorilla silverback has received justice. He continuously said that “This should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife. If one person kills wildlife, we all lose, therefore we request every person to support our efforts of conserving wildlife for the present and future generations.”
Since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in Uganda, UWA said poaching attempts have doubled from 367 snares laid by poachers between February and June this year, up from 163 during the same period in 2019 which has led to a rise in unemployment and food shortages. Due to registered increase number of poachers in game parks, UWA has deployed security guides in all national parks to prevent poachers from accessing wildlife animals for survival
The international Union for conservation of nature had stopped the patrolling of national parks since 2018 but due to steady increase of poaching in last three months this year, the anti-poaching patrols have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Thus the population increases of mountain gorillas in the jungle.
About the Nkuringo gorilla family
This gorilla family was led by Rafiki gorilla silverback which has lived for 25 years and was common to visitors who had gone gorilla trekking in Southern Bwindi. The famous gorilla which led a group of eight females and two infants was the first of its kind to be habituated in Uganda, which means it was friendly to humans.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said the troop had stabilized to 11 members. A new dominant gorilla, Rwamutwe is now leading the gorilla family.