for National Geographic News
But park rangers received some good news yesterday when the five-month-old baby of one of the dead females was found alive.
The baby gorilla, named Ndeze, was badly dehydrated but otherwise fine, the rangers reported.
She was taken to the nearby city of Goma, where the young ape will be looked after at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.
Ndeze received widespread international attention in February when its mother, called Safari, gave birth—a rare occurrence among the troubled mountain gorillas.
Safari was among the three females found dead, but the baby's older brother rescued her from the mother's body after the attack, rangers say.
The siblings had been seen fleetingly in the dense forest, but rangers had expected that the baby would die from dehydration because the brother could not feed her.
When they found the pair, rangers say, Ndeze's brother was reportedly calm as they took her away.
Paulin Ngobobo, the head ranger of the southern sector of Virunga National Park, called the baby's rescue "an amazing piece of news."
"We had given up hope on Ndeze," he said.
The four adult gorillas were shot to death by unknown assailants on Sunday night.
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