Death of silverback NdahuraBy Gorilla Doctors Staff on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 in Uncategorized.
By Dr. Fred
On December 18, Ndahura, a 28-year old silverback and leader of Bitukura group, was reported having fallen 50 meters from a tall tree at around 8:00AM. The fall had occurred while Ndahura was feeding on Chrysophylum fruits and the tree branch he was perched on broke under his weight. Unfortunately, Ndahura failed to maneuver and grab other branches in order to break his fall. A broken tree branch also fell on top of him, and trackers reported that when they removed the broken branch, Ndahura struggled to sit up. He appeared to be in a state of shock for approximately 10 minutes after the fall, but his condition quickly deteriorated and tragically he was declared dead at 8:30AM.
Gorilla Doctors’ Uganda team mobilized quickly; Dr. Fred performed a post-mortem examination of Ndahura’s body in the forest. As expected, Dr. Fred’s conclusions based on his examination were that Ndahura died as a result of massive trauma. Major findings from the postmortem included multiple fractures of the left femur, dislocation of neck bones and shoulder, massive hemorrhages in most of his organs, and rupture of the large intestines. Dr. Fred collected a full suite of tissue and samples, so that we can learn as much as possible and Ndahura’s condition at the moment of his untimely and accidental death.
Ndahura had a good health record, having only been reported once before to Gorilla Doctors in 2012 when he sustained dental injuries following a fight with a wild unhabituated gorilla group. Gorilla Doctors had assessed him at the time and his condition had not warranted any treatment. He was healthy and fully in charge of his group since that time.
Dr. Fred will stay in close touch with park personnel in case Ndahura’s death results in any concerns regarding the health and well-being of his family group members. In the meantime, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park says goodbye to one of its gorilla patriarchs – a sad day for us all.