On a routine health check of Ntambara group in Volcanoes National Park on December 17, Gorilla Doctors Rwanda Head Field Vet Dr. Jean Felix Kinani observed an infant in distress. Ingamiya, the 13-month-old male offspring of mother Tegereza was crying out frequently, had difficulty breathing with foam coming from his mouth. The Fossey Fund Karisoke trackers, who regularly monitor Ntambara group, reported to Dr. Jean Felix that silverbacks Ugutsinda and Ntambara had recently interacted, and it was suspected that the infant was injured in the fight.

Male infant Ingamiya of Ntambara group.

“When I found Ingamiya, he was with his mother Tegereza, who appeared calm, sitting in between the silverbacks” said Dr. Jean Felix. “Ingamiya was crying and appeared to be in pain, but I did not see any lesions or injuries. I called down to Musanze to inform the veterinarian team to be ready for a possible intervention and proceeded to intensely observe Ingamiya for 30 minutes.”

Ingamiya was crying out while his mother held him.

“After 30 minutes of observation, Ingamiya become calm and was breathing normally. He closed his eyes and slept for 30 minutes while his mother groomed him. Because he was immobile while he slept, the trackers became increasingly anxious that the infant had died, but I showed them that he was breathing.”

Infant Ingamiya slept on his mother Tegereza.

“When Ingamiya woke up, he followed his mother as she moved away approximately 3 meters. The infant climbed up onto her back and they moved together to a spot ~10 meters away where Tegereza began to feed on gallium.”

Infant Ingamiya climbed onto his mother’s back to travel a short distance to feed.

“While Tegereza fed, Ingamiya became active and was playing with the vegetation. I continued my observation for one hour and the infant was behaving normally and was bright, alert, and responsive. Trackers will continue to monitor the infant’s behavior closely and report any abnormalities to Gorilla Doctors. A veterinarian will reassess the infant’s condition soon.”

Tegereza and Ingamiya of Ntambara group.

“While with the group, I observed all 17 individuals and each gorilla was visually in good health.”

To view other photos from Dr. Jean Felix’s routine health check of Ntambara group, click here. 

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