UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova condemns merciless killing of Rafiki by poachers

UTB's Lilly Ajarova enjoys a Gorilla company. Courtesy photo.


Kampala—13, June 2020:  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in South Western Uganda has lost its only surviving silverback gorilla of the famous Nkuringo pack in the hands of poachers.

According to Bashir Hangi, the park’s Communications Manager, on 1, June 2020, Rafiki, the silver back of Nkuringo gorrilla group was reported missing in the group and on 2, June 2020, BINP team mounted a search for the missing silverback. The body of Rafiki was found in Hakato area inside BINP.

At least four people, including Museveni Valence has been arrested for the killing—TND News has learnt.

Read more: Poachers, among them Museveni, slay Bwindi’s only surviving silverback

On Saturday morning, Lilly Ajarova who’s the Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the Uganda Tourism Board [UTB], using her official Facebook page, wrote, condemning the merciless killing of Rafiki.

“If you’re a traveller and nature lover, you would agree that we all dream of when we will get a chance to experience the magic of the wilderness,” part of her statement reads.

“For me, the first magic with the mountain gorillas dates back in 1996 when I first visited Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the hundreds of times I have been to the mountain gorillas the experience remains as magical as the first time,” Ms Ajarova,  a conservationist and tourism expert added.

According to her, if you have been to Bwindi “you would understand what I mean, and if you haven’t, you should plan for a trip because there is something you can only experience with them”.

“The rangers and researchers get to name the habituated gorillas based on their traits, unique physical features or based on certain events. “

“Rafiki means friend in Swahili. And that is what Rafiki in Bwindi was.”

She added: “So it saddens me very much on hearing that Rafiki is no more and his life was cut short at the hands of poachers. As an industry, Tourism is already dealing with lots of challenges and it’s unfortunate that poaching continues to be a big challenge.”

“I condemn the merciless killing of Rafiki by poachers and it’s my hope that the culprits will face the full hand of the law.”

But again, she says, we must be reminded that there is still a lot of work to be done with communities neighbouring tourist establishments. More sensitisation on the need to coexist has to be done and communities supported with alternative livelihood means.

“Once again it’s upon us and other relevant bodies to continue raising awareness about the plight of these endangered animals.”

“As we mourn Rafiki I will leave you with a quote from Boyd Norton got from his book, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning.”

 “There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild.”

meja@tndnewsug.com or newsroom@tndnewsug.com

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