Two leading silverback mountain gorillas have died within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the nearly half of the remaining population of the great apes. According to UWA and Gorilla Doctors, Mishaya, the leader of the Mishaya group, was found dead on 3 February, 2014 at the age of 28 years after a short illness. The preliminary results indicated that his death resulted from a coiling of the intestines. UWA established that Mishaya was known as a fighter who often started interactions with other gorilla groups in the park. It was reported that he suffered very serious injuries during a fight with another group in April 2011. He survived the fight with deep wounds on the upper lip and left eyebrow, a swelling on the left upper eyelid, on the right elbow, both hands and below the ankle of the right foot. Despite the severe injuries sustained, he recovered without interventions and he managed to lead the group for abother 3 years.
Another silverback Mwirima, the leader of the habituated Rushegura group was also reported to have died on 3 March, 2014. At the time of his death he was probably about 35 years old. During the last two weeks of his life, his health had detoriareted and was visibly seen as becoming weaker! “His helath was poor and he was not feeding well and lagging behind” established by the rangers. When his condition deteriorated, the Gorilla Doctors were called for an urgent intervention. During this intervention, the veterinarians discovered a wound in Mwirima’s mouth which had made it difficult for him to feed. After his death the Rushegura group is seen being led by the blackback Kabukojo and is assisted by the blackback Kalembezi.
Both Mishaya and Rushegura are habituated gorilla groups visited by tourists taking gorilla trekking expeditions into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Both silverbacks will be missed by tourists, rangers and the gorilla doctors!