Killer of rare Ugandan gorilla jailed for 11 years


Felix Byamukama, the killer of one of Uganda’s popular mountain gorillas, Rafiki, has been jailed for 11 years.

Rafiki went missing on 1 June and his body was discovered by a search party the following day. Investigations later showed the gorilla was killed by a sharp object that penetrated his internal organs.

Byamukama admitted to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) that he, and three others, had gone to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with the intention of hunting smaller animals and that he killed Rafiki in self-defence when he was attacked.

He also pleaded guilty to killing a small antelope, known as a duiker, and a bush pig, as well as being in possession of bush pig and duiker meat.

A UWA team tracked Byamukama to a nearby village, where he was found with hunting equipment.

Three others denied the charges and have been remanded in jail, awaiting trial.

Mountain gorillas are endangered with just over 1,000 in existence and the UWA said “Rafiki has received justice”.

The silverback, believed to be around 25-years-old when he died, was the leader of a group of 17 mountain gorillas.

This group of gorillas was described as habituated, meaning that its members were used to human contact.

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