Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gorillas Win vs. Poachers

Our human efforts of trying to save African animals from snares, poachers, poisonous bait, habitat destruction... the list is long... most of the time seems like a battle we can not win. But this year was different. This year there was a win for wildlife conservation and it comes from the wildlife itself!

Two young mountain gorillas, in a group followed by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda, have learned to deactivate snares that would otherwise kill them. This news warms my heart.  In the past adult gorillas have been observed dismantling snares but now it seems the skills are being learned by the younger generation. The ramifications of this are HUGE. Just think about it.

Snares set by poachers are one of the worst threats to the safety of the mountain gorillas.

A couple of months ago, in the second death this year resulting from a poacher's snare, a juvenile gorilla died of complications of gangrene from rope cuts, and a dislocated shoulder when she tried to escape the snares hold on her.

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), made every effort to save her, but it was too late.

If the gorillas associate the snares with being dangerous, and they begin to dismantle every snare they come across, it will be one less thing the gorillas and their human helpers have to worry about.

"Our battle to detect and destroy snares from the park is far from over... we can proudly confirm that gorillas are doing their part too!" said Felix Ndagijimana, director of the Karisoke Center. {Via}