Rwanda Gorilla King Dies at 35

Band cleans body of fallen leader, Titus
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 18, 2009 2:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – The 35-year-old king of Rwanda gorillas has died, reports the Independent. The once fearsome silverback, Titus, succumbed to old age after a brief illness, said officials. His troupe in a mountain forest of the African nation appeared to be mourning their fallen leader, observers said. Titus shot to fame when a researcher with scientist Dian Fossey named him when he was born in the largest gorilla troupe in the world. He later starred in a BBC documentary called The Gorilla King.

"The other gorillas are mourning. They are cleaning him," said a Rwanda park official. "You have to be very careful. You can't just remove the body." The 450-pound primate king may be buried near Fossey, who was believed to be murdered by gorilla poachers.