Saturday, January 12, 2013

Never Before Seen: Young Gorillas Dismantling Poachers' Traps

These wild gorillas are taking apart a primitive snare in a Rwandan forest last July:

From: Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling Poachers' Traps—A First, National Geographic

Days before, a similar trap had killed one of their group, an infant that couldn't break free and died of her wounds.

The trap is simple, but not that straightforward:
"Poachers build the snares by tying a noose to a branch or a bamboo stalk. Using the rope, they pull the branch downward, bending it. They then use a bent stick or rock to hold the noose to the ground, keeping the branch tense. A sprinkling of vegetation camouflages the noose.

When an animal budges the stick or rock, the branch springs upward, closing the noose around the prey."
The gorillas live in a National Park, where hunters set thousands of traps for food ... and where conservationists, "trackers," spend their days dismantling those traps to protect the dwindling gorilla population. It's likely the gorillas learned from the trackers:
"Tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away.

Suddenly two juveniles - Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old - ran toward the trap. Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.

The pair then spied another snare nearby - one the tracker himself had missed - and raced for it. Joined by a third gorilla, Rwema and Dukore destroyed that trap as well."

1 comment:

Bix said...

I'll trust when NG says these animals are wild, but they got pretty close with this photo.