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. ROBIN

    Hell I come from a family of gorillas. What am I saying,I am a gorilla. I've been trained to use a keyboard and improve my cognitive skills all the way up to a 12 year old human being. I live in a research lab with behavior scientists in Los Alamos California. Excuse me its time for my fruit snack and then nap time.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sunart

    Please excuse me. I am on medication for depression and mood swings. I must be sedated for the next 3-4 hours or I MAY LET OUT MY OTHER ME-GEORGE. AND HE IS VERY VERY MEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NotPoliticallyCorrect

    Sandra Bullock can adopt him.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Um

      Wow. You must be so proud of not being "politically correct". It's called being racist.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greenspam

    Today, this baby Gorilla announced that his favorite movie is "return of the planet of the apes"

    August 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    Now THIS baby I feel sorry for, unlike the babies in Somalia.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • PACO

      why not the babies from somalia??? love one another and be caring towards all. i just made that up. sounds pretty good, pretty damn good

      August 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Estevan

      I feel horrible about all the death and suffering happening in Somalia.

      However....this is simply the reality. Our aid, ironically, is one of the greatest banes in Africa. The best thing we can do for Africa right now is pull out, stop giving aid and money, and let "nature takes its course".

      Think about it. Africa is for the most part covered in arid land which cannot support human life. There is not that much arable land. Furthermore, Africa being a third world continent for the most part doesn't have much of anything the rest of the world wants (diamonds, a few metals, and a bit of oil with no real means of production). This means that Africa, in the grand scheme of things, cannot trade for all the things it could desire. It also means that Africa itself can only support limited population.

      Our "generosity" has allowed Africa's population to grow beyond its ability to support itself. Not only that but our free handouts breed laziness and dependence. Why build a sustainable economy, a market, and industry when people keep giving free money and free food? What is the end result?

      The population of Somalia around 10 years ago was just a little over 7 million and there was some starvation back then as well. Today it is about 9.9 million. What do you expect?

      In the past ten years the population of Somalia has increased by about 30% while its arable land surface has actually decreased by about 15%, It does not make any sense. Starvation is inevitable in Somalia. I know it makes people feel good to send money and food to Somalia but in the long run all our "generosity" is doing is encouraging an unsustainable population growth which will only result in further starvation down the road.

      I'm not saying the next 20 years or so wouldn't be horrible. Collectively we would feel terrible shame and guilt.

      But in the long run the best thing we can do for Africa is stop sending food and money. Population will regulate itself and come back down to sustainable levels.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Estevan


      I said: "Africa is for the most part covered in arid land which cannot support human life. "

      Meant to say: "Much of Africa is covered in arid land which cannot produce enough food to support human life".

      August 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    My first reaction was, "My God!" There's only 800 alive in the entire world and these neanderthal poachers want to profit off of this? Disgusting!

    August 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      Makes one sick doesn't it? That just shows they care about nothing but their pockets.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. smrtaz

    They are all cute and cuddly until they start taking over the world.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      smrtaz, since there are only 800 of them in the world, it would be a long time before they would be able to take over the world,lol.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyndrome

      I think we are ok; there are roughly 8.75 million humans per gorilla.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Be Humble

      Unless they become 9 million times more intelligent than one of us!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Have you ever seen a Gorillia up close? Those 9.75 million humans better be heavily armed!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • simone

      Put your brain in gear before typing

      August 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rags

      Frankly, I'd rather have all the gorillas known to exist than most of the people I know! I'm sure they feel the same about me (both the gorillas and people) 🙂

      August 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tamars

      yur comment is crude and uncalled for. she most likely saw her mother brutalized and even chopped up so that hands could be made into ash trays. think before you type something so unkind.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      Jack Be Humble, I think there are some gorilla's that are smarter the humans, anyway some of the one's that post on these comment boards.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      please explain how 875 gorillas would take over the world.

      August 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Endangered Baby Gorilla


    August 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Scary

    I agree completely. Lets hope you are right

    August 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scary

    Actually I would expand that to ALL humans, not just a few or just Asian

    August 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fortean

    Poachers should be shot on the spot with no questions asked. And to you idiots who say don't you value human life. The answer is that these endangered animals are more important than a few poachers lousy lives.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • David


      August 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      I agree!!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carla


      August 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig b

      Well said, my friend.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mauibear

      Amen. Shoot the poachers

      August 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      If I were a starving African dude, I'd care a lot less about endangering gorillas than feeding my family.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • purplebird

      I couldn't agree more......probably slaughtered the mother to get to this baby.....

      August 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Al, they aren't eating it. They wanted to sell it to a zoo or something.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • purplebird

      and to Al......maybe they should quit breeding and having all those babies we are suppose to feel sorry for

      August 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Give guns to the Gorillias, let them shoot the poachers. That will stop it! Think about it, if you are a poacher walking through the jungle and come to a silver back toten an AK47 you're going to run away screaming like a little girl!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob in Pa

      I thought all human life was precious, but in your mind I guess only if they agree with you.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al


      And what do you think they might do with that money they obtain from the zookeepers? Purchase food, maybe?

      August 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nona


      August 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • William

      Agreed. Simple possession of any poached animals...death penalty.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Estevan

    Wow. Let me guess Sportfan....beer swilling lazy ass with a large gut? Get that about right?

    Better off without ASIAN humans? What does that have anything to do with this story? Oh...you're just racist.

    The rapture? Just a made up story. Will not happen.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    Man... I would not want to eat that thing.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      Your sick and twisted. And, BTW, not funny at all. Poaching is not something to joke about. Maybe you should get a hands on experience at a facility that tries to save the lives of animals that end up dying from shock. Gorillas are especially vulnerable to the trauma of being taken away from their mothers.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      I loled.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Carla shut your trap and get back in the kitchen

      August 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobobobobobo

      Dearest Sam:

      Carla will get back in the kitchen when you grow a member and a six pack. 😉

      August 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Karl

    Are we to pass off yet another African atrocity on colonialism and blame the white man for the fact there are poachers, rapists, bigots & murderers crawling all over Africa? I do not want to see another dime of my tax money go to this continent until they get their crap together.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Busted

      Give me a break you dumb redneck... you don't make enough to pay taxes

      August 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Aw, and they were really depending on the ten cents your tax money would have amounted to.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kornelia

    SHOOT ALL POACHERS ON SIGHT! Ask questions later!

    August 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      Can't ask questions after they are dead, but I agree with shooting them on the spot.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Yeah, just the other day I was standing over a dead poacher and yelling "Who sent you? What are you doing here? Man, what were you thinking?" until old Mert from the Bait Shop walked over and said, "Bub, ya can't shoot first an' ask questions later."

      August 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Shoot them in the leg, take their guns, leave them for the Gorillias. Thats justice!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
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