Endangered baby gorilla rescued from smugglers
Ihirwe, or Luck, the gorilla is receiving care at a Rwanda veterinary facility.
August 9th, 2011
01:32 PM ET

Endangered baby gorilla rescued from smugglers

The infant gorilla's name is certainly appropriate - Ihirwe in the African language of Kinyarwanda, which translates to luck in English.

Rwandan authorities rescued the year-old primate Sunday night as poachers tried to smuggle her into Rwanda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday.

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered with fewer than 800 remaining in the wild in the mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

“The good news is that this infant was rescued before it was too late and is now in good hands. The bad news is that people believe there is a market for baby mountain gorillas and are willing to break laws and jeopardize the fate of a critically endangered species at the chance for profit,” Eugène Rutagarama, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Project, said in a statement. The project is a coalition of the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation and Flora & Fauna International.

The alleged smugglers, men from both Rwanda and the Congo, are in Rwandan custody, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The conservation coalition is working with Rwandan and Congolese authorities on an investigation into a possible smuggling network.

Authorities had not determined which family group the orphaned gorilla came from or if any other gorillas had been harmed by the smugglers.

Ihirwe is under the care of veterinarians of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Kinigi, Rwanda.

“She will go through a 30-day quarantine period, and hopefully will return to DR Congo at Virunga National Park’s Senkwekwe Center where she can join orphan gorillas Maisha, Kaboko, Ndeze and Ndakasi," veterinarian Jan Ramer said in the statement. "We are cautiously optimistic for this little one - she is tense, but accepting of people, and is eating. All good signs for her eventual recovery.”

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Filed under: Animals • Democratic Republic of Congo • Gorillas • Rwanda • Uganda • World
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Daywalker54

    Wow...after reading some of these posts I can only hope that we are some alien experiment gone awry and they wipe the slate clean before more racism, abuse and atrocities are inflicted on their guinea pigs.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe Blow

    Can we eat them??

    August 10, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. D Adam

    For the most part we humans have proved that we are not fit to take care of this planet and its inhabitants.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      I agree with you 100%.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      No doubt about it. Humans are proving that we as a species might also be a failure, unless we change and work together for the benefit of all.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyokol

      Ridiculous, those who rescued the Gorilla are humans. Your radicalism has made you lose perspective.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Melissa


      August 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ruth

    May God repay the doer of what is bad according to his own badness!!!

    August 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rebecca

    This is a sad story for the humans and the gorillas. The veterinarians are doing a superb job but I wonder what will happen to this baby. Will she be rehabilitated enough to then be introduced into the wild only to have her baby caught by poachers? The poachers are not always the evil people that they are made out to be in the media. They are sometimes just trying to feed their own families and simply are uneducated. Perhaps the people of this area will start to appreciate what is in their own backyard and preserve it. But, only if they can have a quality of life without that temptation for a quick few dollars' profit! It is so easy for us to sit in our offices and judge the poachers. Try to have some understanding for the magnitude of this problem. Kudos to the Gorilla Doctors!

    August 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wild uganda safaris

    How can we help in her rehabilitation?. If there is a fund we are willing to offer the little support we can.

    August 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Uganda safaris

    This information find the various gorilla dance in same forest location.All user can understanding for easy reach the forest place Uganda safaris.

    October 24, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
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