Poacher Felix Byamukama has been arrested and sentenced to 11 years in jail for killing the world’s most famous silverback gorilla.
Rafiki, the head of a 17-member gorilla group, was found lifeless after going missing last month.
Uganda wildlife chief arrested Byamukama as he pleaded guilty to stabbing the 25-year-old gorilla in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
After the poacher was sent to prison, the wildlife authority hailed ‘Justice for Rafiki.’
Wildlife official Sam Mwandha said: “We are all 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.”
Byamukama pleaded guilty to being in possession of illegal meat, entering a protected area, and killing a gorilla. In addition, rope snares, a spear and several hunting devices were found in his home.
Chief magistrate Julius Borere sentenced Byamukama to 11 years in jail, said the wildlife authority.
New legislation introduced in 2019 states that ‘anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities will face the wrath of law.’
Poaching is rampant in Uganda and authorities often announce confiscations of illegally obtained wildlife products such as pangolin scales, rhino horns, ivory and others.
One internet user commented: “At last, a decent sentence for a crime against wildlife. These poachers are scum ~ now, if only we could sentence the hunters, as well.”
Another wrote: “Deserves the sentence and you know it’s going to be a tough time in jail.”
A third added: “Absolute monster, should have been executed.”
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