The Death of the Digit
Rwanda, Africa 1977
A light rain was falling down upon the jungles of Rwanda, Africa. Many of the creatures were taking shelter under the many plants and trees that existed in the forest. A group of mountain gorillas, made up of about ten, sat out in the rain. The raindrops poured down their furry coats and trailed down their faces. Digit, the male silverback and leader of the group, sat curled up with his head lowered as the rain caressed his body. He closed his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh. Every now and then he would glance up and sniff the air for any signs of danger.
It wasn't until darkness began to fall that Digit sensed danger. He raised up and walked a little ways from his group. He sniffed the air, man was what he smelled. He could hear them cutting through the thick vegetation and he heard the bark of hounds. With his heart pounding, Digit ran back to his group and made a loud grunting noise, urging them to get up and move on quickly. The group obeyed him and began to move farther into the jungle.
In this moment the men, poachers, appeared. They carried long spears and their hounds were barking ferociously. Wanting to protect his group, Digit turned to face the approaching poachers. He beat his chest and gave a loud scream and he charged the poachers. His first charge was only a bluff to warn the poachers to not come any closer.
The poachers stopped just a few feet away from the humungous gorilla and waited for a few moments. The three hounds slowly crept closer to Digit and surrounded him. Confused, Digit lashed out at the hounds and knocked one down. The other two attacked him at this point. The poachers began to throw spears at the giant creature and the spears stabbed into his chest and he gave a loud roar of pain and anger. He was in total confusion as the poachers threw more and more spears into him. He managed to kill one of the hounds but finally he collapsed to the ground, blood running down his sides where the spears were. His eyes were filled with confusion and pain and with a small moan he fell onto his back and there he died.
The poachers cut his head off and his hands so as to sell them at the market. They left the once-magnificent creature lying in a pool of blood. Digit had never encountered humans that wanted to harm him. Dian Fossey, the young anthropologist, had been his friend and she was the only human he had ever interacted with. When the poachers had attacked him he had been confused.
His family group was scattered when Digit had been killed. They no longer had a leader and they scattered across the mountain. Some were killed by the same poachers that had killed their leader.
Digit, or what was left his body, was buried when Dian Fossey found his dead body. She buried his bodyin the gorilla graveyard where there lay other gorillas who had been slain by poachers or killed by disease.