September 23, 2015
Silverback remains found, likely to be Kirahure
The decomposing body of a silverback was found on Monday and it is believed to be that of missing silverback Kirahure, who had not been seen by our trackers since August 31, despite intensive searching. Kirahure had been wounded in early August during an interaction and was still recovering when last seen.
Veterinarians with Gorilla Doctors examined the body, although due to advanced decomposition a regular post mortem could not be performed. However, skin, hair and muscle samples were taken for genetic analysis, and a photo of his teeth will be used to verify the identification. However, the wounds seen on the body were consistent with those of Kirahure.
Kirahure was the leader of Kuryama's group, one of the mountain gorilla groups followed daily by our staff. He was 24 years old. Luckily there is another silverback in the group who seems to have moved into the role of leadership — 22-year-old Vuba. A full story on the progress of this group of 11 members under its new leader will be available in our next monthly Gorilla eNews (sign up for free here: eNews).