A baby gorilla which had been caught in a poacher’s snare in Volcanoes National Park (VNP) was recently freed by a local veterinary group.
The Gorilla Doctors, an organization that aims to conserve endangered mountain gorillas in northern Rwanda, was alerted to the situation on June 29 by trackers on patrol in the Kampanga area of the park.
Doctors used machetes and wire cutters to disentangle the baby’s hand from the wire, all the while making sure not to anger her family members, who were watching from nearby.
The baby, named Icyamamare, was treated with disinfectant and anti-inflammatory drugs before being released to her family. She was not seriously injured.
The rescue came just two days after the popular Kwita Izina naming ceremony in Rwanda, in which 18 baby gorillas born in the last year received names.
There are less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world. About 500 of them live in the Virunga Transboundary Parks, which VNP is part of. The remainder live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Though mountain gorillas are endangered, Gorilla Doctors says their numbers have increased by 26% in the last seven years thanks to veterinary interventions, conservation measures, and a revenue sharing program between the government and local communities.
But despite conservation efforts, this incident demonstrates that poaching still occurs, mainly by locals who hunt gorillas for either meat or for sale.