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. banasy

    I'd rather hang out with a baby gorilla than you, HelenTroll102951.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justa

    I wonder is you've got an IQ over 30, bubble gum.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    It's like looking in a mirror at yourself, isn't it, george?

    August 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      banasy, don't insult the baby gorilla like that. 🙂

      August 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. monica

    you should share the cinderblock with patricia

    August 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 2EL8

    OH no it has started. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is no fiction movie.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin Finnerty


    August 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2EL8

      Kevin, do you need help turning you caps lock off. I'm a professional, I'm here to help. OK left side of the keyboard is a key with Caps Lock on it. Push it only once. You're welcome.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me


      August 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I agree completely. And the post reads just fine to me. Enough with the false sensitivity to caps-lock.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2EL8

      To Me: I know.
      and my aversion to caps lock is not false.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nani

    It is terrible, I hope that the smugglers are punished with all the extent of the law. If the laws are not strong enough that new laws are created to protect all animals. Humans sometimes act like animals...it is incredible that at this stage of age people attempt against animal life. Full extent of the law should be applied against these people.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bayousara

    These poachers will probably be out of jail soon and doing their dirty deeds again. They should be put into cages for a long time to get the "feel" of what their victim had to go through.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BananaRamaDingDong

    I'm glad this baby Gorilla is doing well... 🙂 George – You give the word "stupid" a whole new meaning!

    August 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bayousara

    WHO are you referring to? Why not go out and find a job today?

    August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Spider Man

    There's no need to fear. Spider Man is here.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • U-Turn

      :::face palm:::
      I'll get the bug spray

      August 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Krista

    Good god what the hell is wrong with the people commenting on this story. Grow up and get a conscience.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lila

    What a beautiful baby gorilla! It's hard to imagine the poachers didn't harm the family, not easy to get a baby away from them.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      Sad to say, but I hope they did not kill them all to get the baby. Sick phuckers.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pat


    August 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mighty Ant

    TO SPIDER MAN. You stay out of here. I was here first. Fair warning. Or die!!!!

    August 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
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