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. Nunya

    You can't eat them if you don't properly conserve them.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nunya

    Internet, I am disappoint. :/

    August 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • kilmoturtles

      If anybody wants to fund my fight, I will personally go over and live with the gorillas and murder any poacher that gets anywhere near them. Only I need a plane ticket over there and enough money to eat every day and have the minimal essentials.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • kilmoturtles

      Anybody that makes a foolish comment and says we need to worry about humans first has no knowledge of balance. Sure, we can probably go on without gorillas, but who wants to live in a world without beautiful animals like this.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. S

    That poor baby and her poor mother. I can't imagine what it would be like to have my infant taken from me. I wish there was some way to reunite the baby and her mother. This was such a cruel crime.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • theresa

      I agree. I am so disgusted with these poachers! I say make an example of them and throw all of them in jail for years. Leave these endangered animals and all animal wildlife alone!

      August 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      It's easy to reunite mother and infant. The poachers kill the mother to get the infant.
      Now, do you STILL want to reunite them?
      I'd prefer keeping it alive, personally.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dirtystone

      They are animals....do you care that much about all of the Americans who are dying without health care? How about we worry about them first....apes...geesh.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • gaucho420

      Why can't you care about people AND animals? Just because you care about this poor gorilla, doesn't mean you somehow care less about others, humans included.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doh

      Dirtystone, why are they mutually exclusive? I can care about the animals AND humans. Sorry that you only have the capacity in your heart for one or the other.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. JIM

    It's a little different when you raise cows for a certain purpose.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Cows are raised to produce milk. Cattle are raised for food. Vegetables are raised for food.
      You were raised to provide an example for others to see what an idiot is.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • all me

      And wzrd1 was raised to provide an example for others to see what a smartass is.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mommytoane

    Awe Too cute!! Poor baby tho. She must be terrified. She definately is a lucky baby.

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

      looks ugly to me.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio )

    He looks kinda cuddly looking and very cute. I bet he has a "birth certificate" too.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • dirtystone

      He has as much real world job experience as our current president....none.

      August 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • PaddingtonPoohBear

      I always thought you all were racist, keep it classy guys!

      August 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach


      August 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Black Slaves of America

    Want to be an Astronaut? Don't worry, Slaves of America gives you the opportunity of sifting thru garbage without gravity!! You will feel like you're in space, just a slight difference because of the odor. We "Shuttle" you inside the garbage!

    August 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    The baby gorilla looks to be in better shape than most of the kids in Somolia.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingerpeach

      The difference is: children have adults that can thinkand bring them up. Adults that are suppose to possess a mind that can think and take care of and raise children. Animals don't possess the barain power of humans, there for they have US to care and provide for them when needed. We send help to humans that need it and in Somolia. We aid people all over the world. Do you begrudge a little aid to the animals, when they need it too?

      August 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • huh?

      "barain power" says it all.

      August 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DaveNYUSA

    Come ON, people! How hard can it be to make poachers an endangered species?

    August 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jt_flyer

    You gotta love "humanity"

    August 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gigglygirl9016

    The smugglers have to rot in hell! Gorillas are endangered, thanks to humans and the damage they do to their habitats etc.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Libby

    You're classy, dirtystone. And how much world experience do you have? Troll.

    August 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David ```````````````~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    August 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gabbi

    You can tell in the posting, the difference between intelligent people and those who have no brains at all. Most of us care about our own about the starving in other countries, about endangered species and are sad to see this beautiful gorilla and glad to see it was saved. To those who post the rediculous comments, get a job, or find a place to donate your time and energy but dont show your ignorance on line.

    August 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • huh?

      Are you referring to ignorance about spelling and grammar?

      August 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Professor Know It All

    This is just a media ploy from the producers of Planet of the Apes. CNN just promoted the movie subconsciously to millions...See ya'll at the box office!

    August 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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