It is with deep sadness that we report the death of another silverback: Kanyonyi, 21 year old leader of Mubare group, died on December 9th after sustaining serious injuries during multiple attacks by a solitary silverback named Maraya.

Kanyonyi was made more vulnerable to attack following a fall from a tree on September 2nd. He was found lame and unable to move and was therefore treated with anti-inflammatory drugs by Gorilla Doctors veterinarian Dr. Ricky. Throughout the month of September he exhibited difficulty using his hind limbs and on the 9th, Maraya attacked Kanyonyi for the first time.

Less than a month went by before Maraya attacked Kanyonyi again, this time taking members of the Mubare group with him. With little time to recover between attacks, Kanyonyi’s pre-existing injuries continued to worsen while sustaining further injuries from every encounter with Maraya. Following a third attack on November 4th, Kanyonyi was too weak to move. This time Dr. Fred came to his aid and treated him with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and multivitamins. Dr. Fred returned three times to administer further doses and to observe Kanyonyi in the hopes that he would begin regaining his strength.

By November 29th he was starting to move again and his feeding levels improved, but a week later he was unable to move again. On December 9th he was dead.

Findings from the necropsy conducted by Dr. Fred include chronic fractures of the right hip joint, joint inflammation, and copious amounts of yellowish material indicating a serious infection, a severe  wound on left hind limb, emphysema of the right lung, and hemorrhaging in both the lungs and brain. Kanyonyi’s weight had dropped to 84 kg, about half his normal weight. The fractures led to severe tissue injury and internal bleeding in the hip joint, in addition to curtailing movement, especially for self-defense during fights and feeding. Maraya’s repeated attacks caused massive trauma all over Kanyonyi’s body.

Leading cause of death is most likely toxemia caused by wound and hip infection. Histopathology and laboratory analysis of the collected samples will be done to confirm cause of death. With the new microscopes and cameras kindly donated by Ellen Weisberg the histopathology will be done over the internet with Ugandan and American pathologist reducing the need to export tissues and therefore reducing delays in diagnosis.