The poacher who killed Rafiki, Uganda’s famous and rare Silverback Gorilla, has finally been sentenced to jail for 11 years.
Felix Byamukama pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal entry into a protected area. He killed not only a mountain gorilla of the Nkuringo gorilla group but also other wildlife at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Byamukama was also found guilty of killing a bush pig and a duiker, as well as being in possession of bush pig and duiker meat.
Sam Mwandha, Uganda Wildlife Authority’s executive director, expressed his relief in a statement released on Thursday. He said, “We are relieved that Rafiki has received justice and this should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife. If one person kills wildlife, we all lose, therefore we request every person to support our efforts of conserving wildlife for the present and future generations.”
The rare Silverback gorilla was reported missing. back on 1 June. A search party found Rafiki’s body on the next day. The post mortem report revealed that he had died due to massive injuries to his organs. Also that he had been injured using a sharp object. Byamukama was arrested a few days later and he confessed that he had attacked the gorilla in self-defense after Rafiki had charged at him.
Furthermore, three other people were arrested with the hunter as well. However, the other three members pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
There are almost 17 mountain gorillas in the Nkuringo group and Rafiki was a dominant leader of the group. The Silverback Gorilla was an extremely prominent and popular member of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Rafiki was assumed to be 25-years-old when he passed away.
The mountain gorillas species have been declared as endangered.