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Astonishing pictures of the young gorillas who worked together to
dismantle the poachers' trap that killed their friends
19 July 2012
Just days after a poacher's snare had killed one of
their own, two young mountain gorillas have been spotted working together to
take apart poachers traps.
Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund were
stunned when they spotted the plucky young duo, called Dukore and Rwema,
destroying a trap in their forest home.
'Today our field staff
observed several young gorillas from Kuryama's group destroying snares!'
Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla
Fund's Karisoke Research Center, which is in the reserve where the event
took place, blogged.
The astonishing moment when two young mountain gorillas were spotted
working together to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home.
'John Ndayambaje, our field data coordinator, reported that he saw one snare
very close to the group; since the gorillas were moving in that direction,
he decided to deactivate it.
'Silverback Vuba pig-grunted at him (a
vocalization of warning) and at the same time juveniles Dukore and Rwema
together with blackback Tetero ran toward the snare and together pulled the
branch used to hold the rope.
'They saw another snare nearby and as
quickly as before they destroyed the second branch and pulled the rope out
of the ground.'
The pair were able to rip the snare apart without harming themselves.
Vecellio said the behaviour was unheard of.
'This is absolutely the
first time that we've seen juveniles doing that,' she told National
'I don't know of any other reports in the world of
juveniles destroying snares.
'We are the largest database and
observer of wild gorillas ... so I would be very surprised if somebody else
has seen that.
''Today we can proudly confirm that gorillas are doing
their part too!'
Staff at the park were still reeling from the death
last week of a young gorilla called Ngwino who was caught in a snare.
The young animal was found too late by workers from Karisoke, and died
of snare-related wounds.
Her shoulder had been dislocated during
escape attempts, and gangrene had set in after the ropes cut deep into her
The two young gorillas in Rwanda who were spotted taking apart poachers
Bush-meat hunters set thousands of rope-and-branch snares in
Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, where the mountain gorillas live.
The traps are intended for antelope and other species but sometimes capture
Poachers build the snares by tying a noose to a branch or a
bamboo stalk, Vicellio said
The gorillas were spotted near the Karisoke Research Center, located in
the reserve where the event took place.
Every day trackers from the
Karisoke center comb the forest for snares, dismantling them to protect the
endangered mountain gorillas, which the International Fund for Nature (IUCN)
says face 'a very high risk of extinction in the wild.'
the snare busting team must have dismantled other traps.
very confident,' she said. "They saw what they had to do, they did it, and
then they left.
A young gorilla at Ape Action Africa, based at the Mefou Primate Park
near Yaounde, Cameroon. It homes orphaned primates, many of whose family are
caught in snare traps. Luci is another Gorilla baby at the park. She has a
full time Cameroonian carer, Jeanne who acts like a surrogate mother.