In a shocking and sad turn of events, 21-year-old silverback mountain gorilla Umushikirano (Rano), leader of Titus group in Volcanoes National Park, was found dead Monday morning when Fossey Fund trackers arrived to the group. There were no visible signs of injury or illness and his body was carried down the mountain and transported to the Gorilla Doctors headquarters in Musanze, where a necropsy was conducted by Drs. Jean Felix and Noel to try to determine the cause of this young silverback’s sudden death. Through the necropsy, Gorilla Doctors determined that Rano suffered a perforation of the small intestine and acute peritonitis, though we cannot be sure of the cause of the perforation. Dr. Jean Felix and team found copious amounts of tapeworms in Rano’s intestinal tract, but we will not know for sure whether this contributed to his death until histopathology is complete. Histopathology will be conducted by our Veterinary Pathologist based at UC Davis, Dr. Linda Lowenstine, which will provide further insight into the cause of death.

Silverback Rano, former leader of Titus group in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.