Four African mountain gorillas, including baby, killed in lightning strike

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Four mountain gorillas, including a baby, have been killed in Uganda by a suspected lightning strike, wildlife officials say.

The gorillas were killed Monday in Mgahinga National Park, according to the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, a wildlife conservation partnership serving the region.

“The deceased gorillas include three adult females and a male infant,” the GVTC said on its website.

2 YOUNG GORILLAS SEEN EMBRACING IN ADORABLE MOMENT

File photo -Baby gorilla Wathaut, from the Mapuwa family group of gorillas, is seen at the Virunga National Park, near the Ugandan border in eastern Congo.

File photo -Baby gorilla Wathaut, from the Mapuwa family group of gorillas, is seen at the Virunga National Park, near the Ugandan border in eastern Congo.
(AP)

Wildlife officials say a post-mortem was performed on the animals and samples collected for detailed laboratory analysis.

“Based on the gross lesions from the post-mortem, field assessment observation and history, the tentative cause of death for all four individuals is likely to be electrocution by lightning,” the officials said.  Confirmation of the cause of death is expected in two to three weeks.

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An endangered species, mountain gorillas are the world’s smallest population of gorillas, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The gorillas inhabit the Virunga Mountain Range, which spans Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources says that there are about 600 mature mountain gorillas remaining, but the population is increasing.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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