A baby gorilla has been seized from animal traffickers by ICCN following a 3-month undercover investigation to bust an international wildlife smuggling ring. This operation was led by Emmanuel with the participation of a key group of Rangers and Pierre.
Here she is - recently rescued with… you guessed it… Faustin
You can read more about it here (we just issued a press release), but here are the main elements:
One suspected trafficker was caught and arrested at Goma International Airport on Sunday while disembarking from a flight from Walikale (in the interior of the country and close to gorilla habitat) with an eastern lowland gorilla (remember these animals are only found in DR Congo). The gorilla was found concealed under clothes at the bottom of a bag and was suffering from over-heating and dehydration after spending over 6 hours in transit.
The Gorilla Doctors have overseen her care so far. She has a puncture wound on her right leg and has sustained other injuries. Plus she is really weak, dehydrated, and malnourished. Dr Eddy has been tending to her and she is responding to treatment, which is the good news. These next few days are crucial however.
This is what Emmanuel said in the press release:
“Our work has revealed a significant upsurge in the trafficking of baby gorillas in recent months, possibly as a result of the war last year. Investigations have yet to reveal where these animals are being sent and who is buying them, but on the ground sources tell us that a baby gorilla can fetch up to $20,000,” said Emmanuel de Merode, Director of Virunga National Park. “We must remember that for each trafficked baby gorilla, several gorillas have probably been killed in the wild. If we want to preserve our gorillas - and other wildlife - significant resources must be invested to put a stop to these trafficking rings.”
Dr Eddy evaluates the gorilla’s health. You can see the blue bag she traveled in - it is made of that thick plastic that you get quite commonly now in stores (for re-usable bags). You will also be happy to hear Andre is involved in her care (he is the main carer for Ndeze and Ndakasi).
Pierre and Katya are just editing a video that they want to upload on YouTube. It is pouring with rain at the moment so the connection is terrible - so please be patient. But the video should be up within the next few hours.
Baby Gorilla Seized from Traffickers in Congo | Gorilla.cd