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. Rob

    I hope the smugglers were ruthlessly tortured and killed. A lesson for other filth in the area!

    August 10, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • LADYDI

      HOW CUTE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP SAVE THE ANIMALS..........

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

      I I sponsor a Virunga gorilla family so I take this rather personally!

      August 10, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. ron brooks

    She is scared for life with a negative impression of humans. We now have a remake of Apes taking over the world depicting them as mean and cruel as we are (Planet of the Apes). We are the ones that are doomed because we are so engrossed with power and killing. These animals are way stronger than us physically but kind and gentle on the inside. When we will ever learn what true power is?

    August 10, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Deployed Marine

      You need to lay off the pipe. Comparing this to a movie is crazy. Yes is it troublesome what has happened to this poor baby gorilla, but don't dumb it down by comparing it to movie.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. bee

    This is a really sad story. Thanks for sharing CNN. I'm glad the little guy is ok.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mark L.

    Ihirwe is SO, SO ADORABLE !! I can only hope and pray for a full and expeditious recovery on behalf of this little infant gorilla. As for the smuggler slime – I can only hope they are captured and crucified !!

    August 10, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. julie

    what a cute baby gorilla what the hell is wrong with people there at less than 800 left i hope they get what they deserve and this little baby gets a great life. to you thugs out there who want to smuggle we are watching you. we will catch you and you will go to jail. you bunch of thugs! this little gorilla is traumatized dont you understand what you did. he is innocent. you slime!

    August 10, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. julie

    do you know that to capture a baby gorilla the mother is killed true fact. I would love to send the smuggler into a room with the mother and let her deal with them in her own way. Go little gorilla we love you.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Leea

      Probably killed in front of her year old baby... Sickening!

      August 10, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. kurtinco

    What the story does not say is that this and other gorillas and "exotic" are being purchased by wealthy Chinese who have re-created a market for these animals. Awesome. Let's invest more in Chinese filth.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin Kemp

    Only 800 left? We don't we send DR. Ruth over to the Congo to fix that little problem.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. cm

    Humans can be so selfish. Poor little gorilla.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    Custody? The authorities should have a shoot to kill policy, especially on patrol. Corrupt judicial systems let such people who are financed go free to murder more gorilla mothers and capture their young again. Just shoot them where they stand – there are plenty of people in the world but few of these beautiful creatures who just want to be left alone.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. your mama

    another sad example of how man exploits animals 24-7, 365 all for money, money money. we have been stealing young exotics from their mothers for centuries either for money, food or entertainment. we confine exotics in zoos without proper habitat or socialization, and even in our backyards and basements where they languish in a life of neglect and boredom. we import them from other countries for cruel canned hunts to satisfy the rage of the hunt for hunters who believe they are superior to all. Ours is not to hold dominion over such creatures, surely anyone should know that?

    August 10, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lexx

    Aww poor babyy! im glad hes okay!

    August 10, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bassmeant Productions

    ...someday, the human species will ride the whirlwind. i look so forward to this day. Peace

    August 10, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. pitdownman

    Da m Dirty humans.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mighty Quackers

    Thank goodness the little one is safe, this just sickens me. I saw the movie Gorillas in the Mist – a very sad and informative movie about the struggles these wonderful animals must endure. They need to prosecute the rich people who are purchasing these animals – that will be the only way this ends....

    August 10, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
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