by Dr. Fred Nizeyimana

Kasotora, an older adult female in Nkuringo group with a 3-year-old suckling infant, sustained a large wound on her head after a fight broke out within the group on December 7. She was bitten just above her brow and the wound was actively bleeding when trackers observed the group that day. Despite the injury, Kasotora continued to breast-feed her infant and stayed within the group. 

A veterinary assessment was requested for Kasotora and on the following day, I trekked to the Nkuringo family with a group of trackers in the Kankoko area of Bwindi. We found the group where they had nested the night before, in the Nkuringo Buffer Zone at an altitude of 1428 meters. When we first arrived in the group, the gorillas were feeding on Afromomam fruits and stems/piths. Assessment and observations were completed in this area initially.

Kasotora was resting with the old silverback Safari, with her infant and other individuals close by. She was grooming her infant and shortly after began to feed on Afromomam. Her demeanour and body appearance were good and her stomach was full. She did touch the wound with her finger from time to time. 

Adult female Kasotora’s bite wound on top of head.

The gash on her head appeared to be about 3cm x 5cm. It had an appearance of an abrasion (with the hair plucked off) on one end and a bite wound towards the brow ridge. There were no signs of infection and the wound was no longer bleeding. 

Although Kasotora was wounded, she was feeding well and was still able to breast-feed her infant. She was with the group and traveled well with the other gorillas in the family. There were no signs of dehydration despite the report of excessive bleeding. As the wound was neither human-induced or life threatening and there were no signs of infection, we made the decision to not intervene and let Kasotora heal on her own. Trackers will continue to monitor her general appearance, level of activity and feeding activity and report any changes in behaviour. 

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