Monday, July 30, 2012

Gorillas preventing poaching

Our battle to detect and destroy snares from the park is far from over. Today we can proudly confirm the gorillas are doing their part, too,” said Veronica Vecellio of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Musanze, Rwanda. Earlier this month, a group of field staff and tourists in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area witnessed a group of gorillas dismantle a poacher's snare. They watched as 2 4-year-olds named Dukore and Rwema and a teenager named Tetero approached the snare. Applying what they had apparently learned from silverbacks, the juveniles jumped on the taut branch attached to a noose and removed the rope. Then they repeated their actions on another snare nearby. This was the first time staff members have been able to see up close exactly how gorillas recognize and dismantle the traps, and they were able to photograph the event (above, more photos here). “How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill.” This type of snare is simple, but effective, and has killed at least 2 young gorillas this year, including an infant named Ngwino just 2 days earlier. Virunga is home to more than half of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas. Fossey Fund field staff have to work hard to protect the critically endangered animals from bush-meat hunters - removing more than 1,000 snares per year.
Previous posts about gorillas:

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