Although gorilla doctors were unable to identify the cause of death, they believe he had been born on 28th December. It has been suggested that since Rugendo's mammary glands are not yet fully developed, the inability to nurse the infant may have been the reason. She has since been seen in the group behaving normally.
The gorilla doctors surveyed the other members of the Kahunge group and found no sign of injury or ill-health among other members of the group. Other infants were seen playing with one another and climbing trees as the adults, led by the dominant silverback, Rumanzi, continued to feed, showing that they had not been deeply affected by the loss of the infant.
This follows the news from last year that mountain gorillas were no longer in decline and that their numbers have risen from the 2006 estimate of 302 to a minimum of 400 in 2011. This now brings the total world population of mountain gorillas up to a minimum of 880, when the 480 from the Virungas are added. This is doubtlessly good news and we look forward to further increases.