May 29, 2011
Infant Imfura Freed from Snare Rope
I have very good news to report today from the field. Our team was able to remove the snare rope from infant Imfura's leg that had caused him so much pain (see previous blog). The intervention was difficult and previous attempts were not successful due to agression from the gorilla group, rain and bad visibility.
Imfura and his mother Ishema belong to Pablo's group, which tends to range far away – they were a four-hour hike from the edge of the park – and is also the largest group, with 13 silverbacks. Imfura and Ishema belong to one of two subgroups, led by Cantsbee, but there were enough adult gorillas with them to create a problem for humans trying to approach a group member in distress. Two brave trackers did manage to get close enough on Tuesday to cut the rope from its stake, but were not able to remove it from Imfura's leg. Yesterday the other gorillas were aggressing against Imfura in reaction to the sight of the long piece of rope, so he stayed close to his mother for protection.
Today everyone did a great job and the intervention went smoothly. They darted Imfura and his mother, and only a few other gorillas noticed what was happening. We've just heard from the trackers who stayed with the group that both Imfura and Ishema have rejoined the rest of the group now and are OK. Jean Bosco Ntireganya, who was bitten during a previous attempt at intervention, was treated in the Ruhengeri hospital and is doing well.
We will provide more details of the final, successful intervention and photos soon.