Gorilla twin fatally injured during interaction

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is very sad to report that the remaining mountain gorilla twin, Kura who was born in January 2016, has died after being injured in an interaction with another group. The injury happened as Kura’s mother, Isaro, apparently tried to transfer to the other group, led by silverback Musilikale. But this is always a dangerous move, as it often leads to aggression by the new silverback, as he attempts to prepare the mother for mating, rather than have the mother continue raising her offspring from another male.

Isaro and Kura, Dec. 28, 2016
Isaro and Kura, Dec. 28, 2016

Yesterday, when Isaro’s group interacted with Musilikale’s group, Musilikale bit Kura several times, causing Isaro to initially run and hide. Musilikale then left the infant on the ground, with multiple injuries, and Isaro went back to fetch her and carry her away. Isaro’s elder daughter, Keza, followed Isaro the whole time. The infant died soon after.

The silverbacks from Isaro’s group – Isabukuru and Kubaha – tried to fend off Musilikale and the other males of his group, and managed to save a different youngster, 2-1/2-year-old Masunzu, who was trying to follow his own mother when she transferred to Musilikale. Staff are now very concerned about Masunzu, since he is still very young to be without his mother and is not completely weaned, though he was not injured.  Luckily, he is of the age where infants have survived without their moms, and the trackers have already seen him playing and resting with his father, Isabukuru.

Sadly, the first twin of Isaro’s also died as a result of an interaction with this same group, led by silverback Musilikale, in early August.

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