The baby gorillas were visited yesterday by the Eddy, the gorilla vet of MGVP. They will be posting on Gorilla Doctors. They are very traumatised, but it seems their chances of survival are reasonable.
They’ve been provided with blankets, food and medicine, and they are now being looked after by Dr. Eddy, of MGVP. We will be sorting out a comfortable shelter, in a house that we recently renovated, but which is currently unoccupied.
This was how they were when the arrived at Mutsora.
A carer will remain with them and begin the process of trying to heal them.
In the meantime, the rangers are focusing their efforts on catching the poachers who were responsible for the crime. It’s extremely important that incidents like this don’t go unpunished, because otherwise it will happen again.
We only have very scanty information. The two baby gorillas were being taken to the market to be killed and eaten. The poachers were intercepted by a MONUC patrol (UN peace-keepers) who seized the infants. Unfortunately, they didn’t record any names or make any arrests (they don’t actually have the mandate or the authority to make an arrest over a wildlife crime), so we have very little to work from at this stage. This is the statement left by the commander of the MONUC patrol.
It doesn’t say very much that can help to identify the poachers, just the circumstances of the seizure. The report states that the infant gorillas were recovered after a lengthy negotiation with the poachers, and reflects the fact that MONUC does not feel able to apply the conservation laws, and simply arrest the poachers.
Norbert Mushenzi, the senior warden, is going to take charge of the operation, which is good news. He is extremely experienced. He is travelling to Goma tomorrow, and will be holding a meeting with the MONUC officers, and try to trace back the events to the people involved. The operation will be managed from Rwindi, which is the nearest park station to Kanyabayonga. We’ll be supporting the operation (rations, fuel etc) with the support that you provided, and we’ll keep you updated on progress. Do read the Gorilla Doctors blog for updates on the two little fellows in Mutsora.
For those that asked, Samantha will be back on Wednesday, and will continue on Gorilla Protection with Diddy and Innocent.
Emmanuel de Merode.