Gorilla – known as Rafiki, which means “friend” in Swahili, was part of the famous Nkuringo gorilla group that lives in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is popular with tourists.
Rafiki was reported missing on June 1, Uganda said in a statement on wildlife protection. A search he launched the next day found his body housed in a park.
A report of the deaths showed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device in his abdomen and internal organs, the statement said.
One man was arrested after pork bush meat and several hunting devices were found in his possession on June 4.
He admitted to killing Rafiki, but said he did so in self-defense, the statement said. He told authorities he was going hunting with the group in the park when they encountered a group of gorillas. He charged for the silver cartridge and he picked it up, according to a wildlife government statement.
The man shared pork from the bushes with colleagues from poaching, the release said. The four suspects are awaiting trial, but it is unclear what charges they face.
At the time Rafiki died, the Nkuringo group had 17 gorillas, the publication said. Silverback was the dominant male in a group that also included three blacks or younger mature males, eight adult females, two minors and three infants, according to Uganda Wildlife Conservation.
The group was the first to stay in the southern part of the park, where about half of the world’s mountain gorilla population lives.