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. adam

    Learn how to spell "amazing" and maybe people will pay attention to you.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jfk1971

    There are 6.94 billion people on this planet and a few thousand gorillas left in the wild. We have plenty of people, God knows that. The punishment for trafficking in this or any similarly endangered species should be death: death for those who take them; death for those who sell them, and; death for those who buy them.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFT

      Sadly, most efforts to stop trafficking are directed at the wrong end of the supply chain. Chipping away at poachers does little, but you seldom see any stories about going after the people who buy these animals, creating a demand that the poachers try to fill. I'm all for severe punishment for people who buy these exotic critters and support things like this baby gorilla being taken (and her mother likely killed.)

      August 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Estevan

      There's about 5 billion too many people on this planet.

      As horrible as it is to say I think we're long overdue for a massive pandemic, mass starvation, and/or global war. Thin out the herd a little.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jessicaber

    I am so glad that she is okay and that her nightmare is hopefully over. I wish her blessings and good health.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TIRED OF REVERSE racism..

    Your a racist with no credibility...

    August 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Estevan

      ...and apparently you don't know the difference between your and you're.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      "You're", not "your".

      August 10, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    dirtystone, you're a racist pig.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    @Atomic Office:

    Is that because a gorilla chest looks better than your own chest?

    August 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The planet of the Apes


    August 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sandy

    the truth about this matter is that in order to get a hold of this infant the mother was probably killed along with any other relative who tried to save the infant , And there is a very rich Chinaman who was waiting for this little treat toshow off to his friends SO SO VERY SAD

    August 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosiepose

      yes, Sandy I agree with you........soooooooooo sad.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    How is it being 12 years old these days?

    August 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rosiepose

    "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,”...............and why do people commit these crimes against animals?
    Of course for greed..........and judging from most of these remards on this post, I can tell how these things happen......

    August 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GT66

    Heartbreaking. Humanity is truly a pestilence upon this planet.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      I could not have said it Better!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ROBIN

    Gorillas are such fascinating creatures. Bless this little one. Hope he/she survives.
    I hate people because of their lack of respect for wild life. they can go to HE^^

    August 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JustThinkinOutloud

    What we NEED to do is give the gorilla a handgun and train it to hunt terrorists. Hells yeah, America!

    August 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. woohoo

    Why can't they figure out what group the baby came from? Why can't she be introduced to a group to see if they will accept her? So sad a bigger effort isn't made to re-integrate her back with a family group with a mother.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFT

      Unfortunately, gorillas aren't into adoption in the wild. They would be most likely to attack and kill her, or just walk away and leave her there.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sunart

    The reactions to this story make me understand why, sadly, America is becoming what it is. in this moment, I have more hope for the gorilla than for us.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sunart

      I should clarify...SOME of the reactions to this story. Not all.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      Dial it back. It wasn't Americans who did this.
      I have more hope for this baby gorilla than I do for Africa.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
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