March 6, 2013
Infant Amatwara Still in Critical Condition
Today, the situation was still the same with infant Amatwara. He is inactive and moves by riding on his mother Bishushwe’s back or just stays on the ground while she eats. While the gorillas rest, Amatwara is on his mother’s breast.
The group is calm and Bishushwe keeps her distance from almost all the other gorillas. Her older son Igisubizo rests in physical contact with his mother and Amatwara, 10-20 meters from the rest. Silverback Ugutsinda approached Bishushwe a few times while the group was feeding, but just for a few minutes. He seemed to ignore Bishushwe today.
A Gorilla Doctor veterinarian and Fossey Fund researcher Jean Paul were there. Apparently Umatwara has not only a broken leg but also a hip fracture.
This evening, after a very long discussion including the Rwanda Development Board (park authority), the Gorilla Doctors and our staff, we made a final decision not to intervene.
This was done based on the following considerations:
1. There is a very low likelihood of the infant’s survival, even with an intervention.
2. The injuries were caused by a natural event.
3. The intervention could possibly disturb the group and mother Bishushwe, who would also have to be anesthetized for a veterinarian intervention and would risk being left behind by the group and being alone again.
The discussion was animated, and we took into consideration all possible scenarios and actions. We also concluded that we can’t follow a general rule for interventions, but each case has to be discussed separately taking into consideration several factors and including all the partner organizations in the final decision.
Tomorrow we will all go to the group to see what happens next, and we will also accompany the Gorilla Doctors to check on Ugenda’s injuries from his recent interaction with Gushimira.