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.”

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Democratic Republic of Congo • Gorillas • Rwanda • Uganda • World
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. GG61

    These precioius creatures need more protection. Penalties for poachers need to be severe. I hope this little one makes it.

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

      The baby is scarred for life. She saw her mother killed, and would have ridden with her dead body for the trip out of the forest. Elephants experience the same trauma when they see their mothers and family members killed by poachers.

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

      You people give animals too much credit. They're too dumb to know what's going on.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Al, primates have more on the ball than a cat or dog. Elephants are smarter because they can pick things up and look at them. Even a dog or cat can be traumatized by a bad experience.

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

      We give Al too much credit. He is a dumb human.

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

      Ever talk to one Al? No, cause you're to stupid to understand THEIR language. A Gorillia named Coco was taught sign language. She could hold an intelligent conversation with a human AND translate to other Gorillias. They lead a better life than we do. Their only worry is stupid humans mess things up for them.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    K that's just damn cute.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Californian

    The problem in that part of Africa is you are dealing with people who eat bush meat. They consider gorillas and other apes to be food. I see that as one step below cannibalism, so I am that much more appalled that they would abuse a baby gorilla. But to them, it's no different than (to use a common crime in the USA) someone killing a grizzly bear (without a permit and off season) and taking the babies to sell in the exotic pet trade. The only solution is to up the penalties. You cannot appeal to ethics. You have to make the potential loss many times worse than the potential gain. Right now, it's win-win for th poachers.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robb1371

      Nicely wriiten

      August 10, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. The Black House

    What does this mean? It means you get to work legally in the US and get a nice meal. Yes, one bowl of soup for each member of your family and if you work 22 hours a day for 6 months in a row you get, listen to this, a bowl of rice! Come on down and sign or leave. Be a happy and proud slave, with your stomach full.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yiab

    Very sad but scientist say that if the numbers reach 600 or less there will be inbreeding and this will cause extinction.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. F-15

    Sounds great Black House. Now why don't you see a dermatologist about those nasty warts on your little penis. If you hurry,you may not lose it.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kim

    We humans treat each other horribly in this world so, sadly, it's never any surprise to hear that humans have hurt our animal friends too. I hope this poor little gorilla makes it but I'm sure she is traumatized and will be that way for a long time.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    Fuc Somalia and fuc the apes, I lost my home and my job. My wife went to live with her mother and my two sons. I'm working in a shop for 20 bucks a day. I can't pay rent or feed my family. You people are worried for a stupid ape? 60 percent of US people are having the same problem as me. God help me and help my family.

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

      We hope you starve, and your wife was smart to leave you before you beat her again. You made up the 60%, and you are a worthless drunk. God hates people like you.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Malcom McD

      But you have time to browse the internet and make comments. Hmm, maybe you should try a site that has job listings.
      As far as Apes comment goes, God is an Ape and he hates you too.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIghty7

      You sound like a complete loser.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carla

    I aint got no panties on.

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

      Sounds delicious, I think !

      August 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      SURPRISE! neither does the Gorillia!

      August 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Shephard

    Right let's just kill and eat everything til there's nothing left and your the one that sounds like a worthless animal.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Well, stop eating and die. It'll make the world a LOT better place to live in.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. char

    I would rather cut them off – you should NEVER reproduce.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Al

    Sam is right. How many of you eat burgers? How would you respond to Indian people telling you to stop eating cows?

    August 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pauljack

    Exactly. And who are people to tell me not to throw trash in rivers lakes and streams? And to stop and red lights and stop signs? And to give pedestrians the right away? I mean if there in my way? I'll just run them the heck over. Who cares about those stupid senseless people who can't afford a car?? They should stay off the streets....LOL! And speaking of cars..so what mine smokes and pollutes the air? It still runs so it should pass inspection anyway.....Crazy talk.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Whyte MaN

    Either all life matters or no life matters. You can not have an in between.
    So using your perspective you are nothing more than a worthless hairy ball sack. Only difference then would be that someone can't make any money poaching you.


    August 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AZSucks

    Words of a creepy Republican

    August 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9