Nature always seems to find a way, despite the worst efforts of humanity to harm them. Animal poaching and hunting have been a major plague to a lot of animal species in the world. Even with conservation efforts doing all they can, these activities still continue in some parts of the world. But there is always hope.
This story is almost a decade old and was first reported in 2012. Be that as it may, some stories are worth retelling. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund oversees the Karisoke Research Center at Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Their conservationists witnessed a unique scene – two mountain gorillas destroying traps on the forest floor!
It Was A First For Everyone Present
The gorilla’s activities were caught on camera only a few days after one of the gorillas was killed by the snare of a poacher. Moreover, these two were not even fully grown adults, they were juveniles. The story was covered by National Geographic.
The coordinator of the gorilla program, Veronica Vecellio, said that it was their first time seeing juveniles do that. They have also never heard of any such report from the rest of the world where youngsters destroyed the snares. What made it even more amazing is that Veronica claimed their team was the biggest wild gorilla database. So it would have been almost impossible that they would have not heard of such a thing if it did happen anywhere else.
On the day of the incident, John Ndayambaje, a tracker, had seen the trap. It was in close proximity to the gorilla clan of Kuryama. However, Vubu, a silverback, signaled him to keep his distance and kept the tracker from deactivating it.
That’s when two youngsters: Dukore, a female; and Rwema, a male rushed to inspect the trap. They were approximately 4 years old. Ndayamabje, along with some other tourists, then watched in amazement as the two worked together to break the snare.
An Intricate Operation By The Gorillas
The snares involve a noose tied to a stalk of bamboo or a thin branch. The rope is used to bend the branch downwards. Then a rock or another stick is used to attach the noose to the ground. As a result, the branch remains tense. When the rock or stick is touched, the branch is released upwards. This strangles the prey by tightening the noose. The force is enough to lift a light creature from the ground.
With nimble movements, Rwema was seen to break the branch by jumping on it. At the same time, Dukore released the noose from the trap. That was not all! The two actually located one more trap nearby – this one not even Ndayambaje had noticed. They sprang towards it, and along with another adolescent gorilla named Tetero, destroyed that one as well.
Vecellio was amazed at the speed at which they took care of them. She believes that the youngsters had already done it several times already. She says the youngsters disabled them very confidently, did it, and then left just as confidently. Vecellio thinks that the youngsters have probably seen older silverbacks get hurt by these contraptions. So they figured out a way to take care of the danger, all on their own.
However, experts were hardly surprised that the gorillas learned how to use tools. They also suspected that they had seen human trackers and learned how to do it on their own. But, the researchers want to leave them undisturbed as much as possible. So they could not give them lessons like this. But, Nature proves once again that ingenuity is not something unique to humans, after all. Also, you can help the efforts by contacting the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund directly. Help is always appreciated.
All Image Credits: Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund