Cantsbee was a 38-year old silverback mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda who was part of the original group named by the legendary Dian Fossey and still studied by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. He first went missing from Pablo group on October 10, 2016 and thankfully reappeared in his group months later, on January 4, 2017. Health checks by our Gorilla Doctors veterinarians at that time determined that he was in good general health.

But on February 26, Fossey Fund trackers reported that Cantsbee was weak and feeding less than before. The following day Gorilla Doctors mobilized a team to conduct a veterinary assessment, but by then Cantsbee had disappeared once again. The Fossey Fund deployed a large team of trackers to search for him, but despite their efforts, Cantsbee was once again missing.

It wasn’t until Friday May 12 that trackers following the Musilikare group came upon the carcass of a gorilla in a waterway in the Kadende area of the park. The body was brought to Gorilla Doctors for a post-mortem examination, but advanced decomposition of the carcass made a thorough exam difficult.

For identification purposes the dentition of the carcass was compared with a photo of Cantsbee’s teeth that had been taken when he was alive. This comparison, along with additional chromatography data, convinced all concerned of the high probability that the gorilla found in the waterway on May 12 is in fact Cantsbee. Gorilla Doctors and Fossey Fund await genetic analyses to confirm. We will keep everyone informed.