Since silverback Rukina’s death in early April, intra-group fighting has erupted in Kyaguliro group as blackback (almost silverback) Mukiza continues to challenge the new dominant silverback, Rukara. The two males have been fighting for dominance for months, and in late April, Rukara seriously injured Mukiza in a fight, but as adult male gorillas tend to do, Mukiza bounced back and made an incredible recovery without intervention. 

This week, Dr. Ricky is also monitoring injuries on multiple adult females within the group including Twijukye, Raija, Korugezi and Binyindo. 

Silverback Rukara Healing Wounds

Dominant silverback Rukara with healing wounds on his face.

Dr. Ricky reports that twelve-year-old blackback Mukiza had four major wounds during his health check: a wound just above his right year, and others on his right forelimb, right thigh and right foot. The blackback is still feeding well and moving with the group, showing no signs of discomfort or illness.

Mukiza's wound above his right ear is dry and healing.

Mukiza’s wound above his right ear is dry and healing.

Unfortunately, when males fight, sometimes the females get caught in the fray and injured. During Dr. Ricky’s health check, he saw that adult female Twijukye had a wound on her forehead, approximately 6cm long, 2 cm wide and 1.5 cm deep. Fortunately, she is feeding well and moving with the other group members and the wound is dry and healing.

Adult female Twijukye with a wound on her forehead.

Adult female Twijukye with a wound on her forehead.

Adult female Binyindo’s forehead wound, first observed during a health check several weeks ago, is also healing well with no sign of infection. Raija, a new adult female in the group, has a wound on her left hind limb, but it appears to be on the mend.

Adult female Korugezi of Kyaguliro group.

Adult female of Kyaguliro group.

Blackback Kabandize had a deep healing wound on his forehead as well and a superficial wound on his right wrist.

Ricky Kyaguliro RHC-5

Blackback Kabandize in Kyaguliro group

Since none of the wounds are showing signs of infection and are healing well, a veterinary intervention is not warranted at this time. Dr. Ricky will continue to monitor the group closely however, and will be ready to intervene should infection set in or a group member’s condition deteriorates. Our Uganda Field Vet reports that the intra-group fighting in Kyaguliro group is expected to continue, so UWA trackers and our veterinarians will be vigilant in monitoring the health of this group.