Untimely Goodbye to “Baby Fred”By Gorilla Doctors Staff on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 in Blog.
On the morning of February 17, 8.5 year old juvenile mountain gorilla Nvuyekure (nicknamed “Baby Fred”) was reported by Mgahinga National Park personnel in Uganda to be severely wounded. Gorilla Doctors’ own Dr. Fred quickly mobilized to conduct a full investigation. Based on his findings during a post-mortem exam of Nvuyekure’s carcass, we suspect that Baby Fred was fatally gored by a forest buffalo during an unfortunate interaction between the Nyakagezi group and a herd of wild buffalo. When park personnel first located Nvuyekure, he had a gaping wound in his chest and his breathing was very shallow and labored. Trackers monitored Baby Fred while the rest of the Nyakagezi group looked on and beat their chests from approximately 100 meters away. Unfortunately, Nvuyekure died shortly after he was found by park personnel.
Further evidence for the cause of Baby Fred’s death was that there were lots of broken tree branches in the area of the suspected clash, as well as the feces and track marks of both gorillas and buffalo.
Dr. Fred had the difficult task of performing the postmortem examination on his namesake gorilla. Dr. findings included severe internal bleeding in several organs caused by the penetrating chest wound that also entered the abdomen. Gorilla Doctors surmised that his injuries were too great to overcome and he went into a state of shock until his death.
Behind the name “Baby Fred”:
Dr. Fred had a close bond with this particular gorilla: early on in his career as a Gorilla Doctors veterinarian, he responded to a report of a baby gorilla named Nvuyekure who had wire snares wrapped around his leg and neck. It took multiple attempts to dart the baby due to his small size, but Dr. Fred eventually managed to successfully remove the snare.
When they returned the baby to the family after the snare removal, Dr. Fred noted that the gorilla family members “were overjoyed, as much as the humans were. We carried the baby to them, placed it down at a close distance, and the whole family came rushing to see the baby and smell the baby.” Baby Nvuyekure was subsequently nicknamed “Baby Fred.”
According to Gorilla Doctors health monitoring records, Nvuyekure had no previous clinical disease manifestations. The loss of a healthy young gorilla is always tragic – Baby Fred will be missed by all who cared for him and watched him grow up.