By Jean Bosco NOHERI
Musanze, Rwanda

In late January there was an interaction between Ntambara and Gushimira, two silverbacks (SB) in the Ntambara group, after which Ntambara SB was seen with minor wounds on one hand, a swollen face and a flat belly. He disappeared on February 6 and Ugutsinda a 24-year-old male who was then the second SB of the group, took over full responsibilities to lead the group.

Unfortunately, on February 17h trackers noted that he was suddenly lethargic, and staying behind the group. It appeared that his condition could be critical, requiring a veterinary intervention.

Gorilla Doctors visited the group on February 20 to assess the health of Ugutsinda, with intervention equipment in tow,  ready to treat him if necessary. Gorilla Doctors spent about an hour and a half with him the morning of Friday, Februrary 20 and after performing a complete visual physical examination, decided that his condition did not need treating at this time. Instead, Gorilla Doctors planned intensive and close monitoring, even though he was alone approximately 500 meters behind the group.

The following days he was sometimes with the group, sometimes behind, and despite exhibiting general weaknesses, his feeding ability remained within normal limits.


Under the leadership of the 3rd SB Twibuke, the Ntambara group ranged way up to the top of Visoke where some areas are not easy to access, so there were days that the group was not checked by trackers. But even on the days that the trackers managed to see the group, Ugutsinda was not always with them.

On Sunday March 8, when Gorilla Doctors arrived at Buhoma (Uganda) for its two-day annual retreat, we were informed that Ugutsinda was found alone and a veterinary visit was requested. Trackers did not locate him the following two days, but then re-found him on March 11 in the Kurudi area of the park.

Dr. Noel tracked him on March 12, and  found him at Kurudi area (same area as the day before). He was resting by the time Dr. Noel got there, but started feeding on Cardus and Gallium after about a half-hour. Noel was happy to hear him make three hooting vocalizations during his observation. Generally, Ugutsinda appeared active and his general body condition seemed to have improved.

Gorilla Doctors is relieved that his health condition is slowly improving.

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