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Gorilla dies in tragic accident
02 September 2008

It is with great pain that the Gorilla Organization announces the death of Musangania, a five year old gorilla from the Lusenge Family from Mount Tshiaberimu, DR Congo. Musangania was found dead near the Gorilla Organization’s ranger patrol base at Burusi, at 9 am on Saturday 30 August 2008, by the head of the monitoring team.

The death came as a complete shock to the entire team at Mount Tshiaberimu. Since the death of two adult females in February and May this year, the health of the remaining gorillas at Mount Tshiaberimu has been monitored extremely closely. In addition to daily health monitoring, vets from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) visited the Lusenge family three weeks ago, and just last week vets from Conservation through Public Health (CTPH) also visited the family. Both vets’ reports confirmed that the family was healthy and well, and that there was no cause for concern.

Musangania’s body was found with an inflated belly, traces of blood in the mouth, lesions on the lips and foamy saliva coming from the mouth. Jean Claude Kyungu, the manager of the Gorilla Organization’s Mount Tshiaberimu Conservation Project said, “It was an extremely sad moment to find Musangania dead. He was a young and lively gorilla and had been seen the previous day playing up in a tree, at a height of nine meters, with his companion Mukokya and his father Nzanzu.’

Musangania’s body was carried by rangers to the Gorilla Organization’s base at Kyondo. The body was refrigerated overnight and on Sunday an autopsy was carried out by MGVP, CTPH, the Gorilla Organization and the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN).

The autopsy revealed that Musangania died from a brain hemorrhage and deformation to the front, right side of the head. We are still waiting for the results of samples taken during the autopsy, but based on the post mortem, the recent health monitoring and the sightings of Musangania up the tree the day before - we believe that the gorilla fell from the tree, whilst playing, and hit his head badly on the way down.

This is a devastating moment for everyone at the Gorilla Organization. A gorilla falling from a tree is rare, but unavoidable. Though with the very small population of Mount Tshiaberimu gorillas, it is a very big loss.

This recent death leaves the population with just 18 individuals. Click here to find out more about this fragile population of gorillas and here to find out more about the work that the Gorilla Organization is doing in this area.

for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123