EXPIRED: 09/14/09 – Titus, 35, who became the world’s most famous silverback mountain gorilla after starring in Dian Fossey’s “Gorillas in the Mist” has died in thde wilds of Rwanda of old age. His tribe, now led by his son Kuryama, is in mourning.
Born in 1974, Fossey named Titus after the title character of Mervyn Peake’s novel Titus Groan. Titus found himself under almost constant observation by scientists during his life in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, which saw him bond with a group of young male gorillas, where homosexual behaviour was the norm.
He went on to oust a larger silverback to become the dominant male in what was believed to be the largest group of gorillas ever seen in the wild. Researchers also believe that Titus sired more children than any other gorilla on record.
As is the way of these things his powers finally waned, and he was ousted by his son Kuryama, who eventually took control of the group. It was reported that Titus, far from being irked by the loss of his powers, assisted his son in managing the group and was still regarded, with respect, by the other gorillas.
There was no poaching here, Titus was the victim of a brief, one-week illness.