These Young Gorillas Figured Out How To Dismantle Poacher Traps

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Gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park have been brutally terrorized by poachers attempting to snare and kill them. Days after a poacher’s rap killed a young mountain gorilla, two four-year-old mountain gorillas were observed working together to dismantle the snares poachers put out.

“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that” Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center, told National Geographic. “I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares.”

“We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas, so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that.”

John Ndayambaje, a tracker, spotted the trap close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. When he moved in to deactivate the snare, a silverback named Vubu gave him a warning to stay back. Two youngsters, both four-years-old (effectively teenagers) ran toward the snare.

“Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.”

The pair spotted another snare nearby, one John had missed, and did the same thing. “They were very confident,” he said. “They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”

It’s poetic in every sense. These gorillas have been attacked by poachers, and instead of going on a brutal offensive against humans, they simply did what they needed to do to protect themselves and went back to doing gorilla stuff. Awesome.