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. Dr Kar

    Only sick ones who will do this. Get rid of them from the Earth, along with the one who buys them or participate in their trade. CNN, why don't you write an article on who are criminals involved in this business.

    August 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gingerpeach

    The poor little thing, she looks so worried. My heart goes out to her, I hope she comes out of this ok, she is so little and helpless.

    August 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Right

    Every article I ever read...there are so many stupid comments from people. In general I think humans must be the "stupidest" race the world has ever seen and by far the most destructive to the planet.... our egotism and self absorbed minds are slowly destructing our planet and the environment in which we live.

    August 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      i deeply agree. Also, there WAY too many humans on this planet. Additionally, there are way TOO MANY dependant humans on this planet. People should think twice on whether to have kids or not

      August 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Stupidest is a perfectly valid word, so no need to puts it in quotes. Also, it's species, not race.

      August 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robb1371

      .....throw in the word greed as well.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Edward Stevenson

      I've lost all optimism in this life due to the actions of humans. They continue to strain the resources of this planet and encroach upon the rights of other creatures to live and exist. There is nothing more vile than a human intent on getting rich.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • A

      I couldn't agree more.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • lab

      wow, i agree with you and all that replied. i know too many people that believe human life is more important than all other life on the planet....and i do not agree at all.
      so, thanks all of you for your posts.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Wehisel

    It's Artie Lang!! "Look at you, you baby gorilla."

    August 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LES2251

    Very sad that this happened to this little baby. People that poach should be poached in a skillet of hot water like an egg! And those of you who post stupid comments to each other need to go find a life, or as one person said, if you cant say something nice, and live a decent life, you are taking up to much space on earth. Live on the edge folks and be good to each other!-.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. strangways

    what's really sad is that the apes that smuggled her probably killed her mother to take her. as long as there's a market for exotic animals, this will continue. still it's great that they caught them.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kealani Smith

    Give the baby to Koko the Gorilla !!

    August 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. IPityU

    Hang the smugglers from their b@lls.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sheila

    what do they smuggle the gorillas for? pets? is their fur or something valuable?

    August 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Raghav

    I still remember her touch
    as I lay my head on her belly
    her voice, cooing softly
    her soft hair tickling my nose
    the soothing noise
    of my brothers playing in the thicket

    a deafening crack,
    frightened I lay still
    expecting her to say something
    all I heard, silence
    my fingers grasping at her in vain
    as rough hands pulled me away,
    hands that looked like hers, mine
    yet strangely different, menacing

    As I was dragged away
    my last glimpse of her, lifeless, limbless
    humans surrounding her, pouncing, hacking
    I try to forget,
    but my memory, it refuses to fail me

    I never knew the meaning of time
    as I rolled in the grass with my mother and brothers
    at my side
    now behind these unbending, unending bars
    time is all I know, passing slowly, ever so slowly
    as I wait for
    the next time I can feel the earth,
    nibble on a blade of grass
    the next time I can feel the touch
    of another of my kind.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • O

      WoW, dude! that was awesome. Thanks!

      August 10, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • starr

      beautiful piece of writing. If this is yours , you are truly talented.

      August 10, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Loriel

      My perfectly applied mascara is running down my face. Thank you so much for this beautiful poem that gives homage to this heartbreaking story.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • kilmoturtles

      hmm,i took part of it to see if I could find it on google.. no such luck. You got some talent there..don't let it go to waste

      August 10, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Raghav

      I did write this. I somehow wish that the topic were less disturbing.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Robb1371

      Thank you for sharing it.

      August 10, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Appreciative

      Thank you for sharing this beatiful poem. It touched my heart.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Faith

    Ban animal fur. The cruelty done by humans knows no limit. The planet awaits the King's return to punish the present mainkind and rid of them forever for good.

    August 10, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |


    August 10, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. yada

    @ Raghav Did you write that? So poetic and beautiful...yet haunting and sad. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing...both the poetry/story and your compassion. Wow!

    August 10, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Raghav

      Yes, I did. I wish the topic were different.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. timestickin

    I can't place the eye brows,, But he does look fimiliar...

    August 10, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |

    good effort. real appreciating.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
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