No matter how hard conservationists try, there is always some ruthless poacher out there to kill animals regardless of how close they are to becoming extinct. Now, a trio of endangered young mountain gorillas in Rwanda have decided to take it upon themselves to try save their species by thwarting their attempts.
The amazing incident took place earlier last week at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center, located inside Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Having lost a young gorilla to a poacher trap the previous week, tracker John Ndayabaie whose daily job is to seek and take down these snares, was on the prowl when he spotted one.
However, before he could get closer, a Silverback named Vubu grunted at him - his way of telling John to stand back. As he waited to see what the warning was about, John witnessed what can only be described as astonishing.
Two four-year old residents of the gorilla reserve - A male by the name of Rwema and a female called Dukore emerged from the bushes and purposefully marched toward the snare. Then as John and a few lucky tourists watched, they began to systematically undo it. Rwema began by breaking the bent tree branch from which it hung, whilst Dukore worked on freeing the noose.
What was even more surprising is that when the duo were done, they leaped on to another snare, which even John had missed. Whilst they were undoing that one, they were joined by another youngster - Tetero, who helped them wrap up the good work.
Just observing how efficiently the trio undid the snares, has convinced the workers at the research center that this is not the first time these young vigilantes have thwarted the poachers plans. They think that the young ones learnt how to look for and destroy snares by observing the workers at the reserve.
Ironically, the snares are not set up to trap gorillas, but antelopes and other small animals. However, while they pose no danger to the adults, the younger apes get stuck inside every now and again, as had been the case the previous week when a female died after getting accidently snared in.
While gorillas learning how to protect themselves is great under any circumstances it is even more so in this case. That's because with only about 790 mountain gorillas known to exist in the wild, they are a highly endangered species. It is therefore great news that the young gorillas are teaming up with humans to turn this dire statistic around.
The Karisoke Research Center is the world's hub for the research and protection of the critcally endangered mountain gorillas. Founded By Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967, the center is credited for protecting over one-third of the wild gorilla population in the Virungas, a chain of volcanic mountain that lie along the northern borders of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda - The only three countries in the world where the mountain gorillas can be found in the wild. Thanks to efforts of the dedicated staff of the research center, the population of mountain gorillas increased by 23.6% from from 2003 - 2010 - A trend that will hopefully continue.
Resources: nationalgeographic.com, dailymail.co.uk, gorillafund.org