February 5, 2013
Juvenile Gorilla Caught in Snare
This morning, the Fossey Fund trackers for Kuryama’s group discovered juvenile female mountain gorilla Dukore with the remnants of a snare around her left leg. All of the gorillas in the group were resting near her but seemed to be calm, suggesting that Dukore was probably caught in the early morning quite a while before trackers reached the group.
Trackers discovered two snares in the area. Sadly, one had already caught and killed an antelope. The other was probably the snare that caught Dukore because the rope had been cut. Given the frayed appearance of the rope’s end, we believe that a gorilla probably chewed through it, but since we were unable to observe the event, we do not know whether Dukore or another gorilla chewed the rope. The base of the snare was surrounded by flattened vegetation, another sign of gorilla presence.
Fortunately, Dukore is feeding and moving as normal, meaning that the ring of rope that still encircles her leg is not severely tight. This gives us a larger window of time in which to intervene. Since the gorillas were already stressed by the snare incident this morning, we will wait until tomorrow to go up with veterinarians from Gorilla Doctors for final removal of the snare.
Interestingly, Dukore is one of the juveniles who was observed destroying snares in July. Field staff noted that the technique she used was risky, as it involved some direct interaction with the mechanism of the snare itself, rather than merely breaking the stake as we have seen some adult gorillas do. Since we were not present at the time that Dukore was caught in the snare, we don’t know for sure, but she may have approached the snare as she has done in the past and inadvertently been caught in the process.
In any case, we are very glad that Dukore seems to be in good health after her very dangerous encounter.