Young gorillas deactivate poachers' snares

2012-07-23 15:21

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Only one week after two members of their group passed away, a couple of bright, young mountain gorillas were spotted dismantling several snares set by poaches in a Rwandan national park Tuesday,New York Daily News reports. 

Although older male silverbacks have been known to deactivate snares, it's the first time that juvenile and blackback gorillas have been spotted doing the same. 

"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," Veronica Vecellio, the Gorilla Program Coordinator at the Fund's Karisoke Research Center, told Wanderlust.

John Ndayambaje, Field Data Coordinator at the Center in Rwanda witnessed two young gorillas, Dukore and Rwema, destroy a trap with blackback Tetero; destroying the branch that the rope snare was attached to and pulling the rope out of the ground.

He saw the trap close to the group and went to remove it. However, a silverback grunted a warning at him. The three gorillas ran towards the snare and deactivated it, and quickly moved on to destroy a similar snare nearby.

The traps are meant for antelope and other mammals for their meat, but occasionally the gorillas get caught in them instead. Thousands of these rope-and-branch snares are set up around Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park by poachers, the Fund staff remove an average of 1,000-2,000 every year.

Check out the Gorilla Fund blog for the full story. 

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