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Pictures Capture Young Gorillas Figuring Out How to Destroy Poachers' Snares


"They were very confident."

Disarming a snare (Photo: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund)

In April, The Blaze brought you the saddening story of an orangutan that had tried to gnaw its own arm off after it became trapped in an illegal snare. Now, juvenile gorillas have been caught in the act of disarming similar traps set by poachers.

Not only that, but they worked together destroying it with such ease that researchers think they've been doing it for a while.

"They were very confident," Veronica Vecellio with the  Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center told National Geographic of the event. "They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left."

The on the gorilla fund's blog, Vecellio wrote earlier this week how they were able to capture this scene, which demonstrated "impressive cognitive skill":

John Ndayambaje, our field data coordinator, reported that he saw one snare very close to the group; since the gorillas were moving in that direction, he decided to deactivate it. Silverback Vuba pig-grunted at him (a vocalization of warning) and at the same time juveniles Dukore and Rwema together with blackback Tetero ran toward the snare and together pulled the branch used to hold the rope. They saw another snare nearby and as quickly as before they destroyed the second branch and pulled the rope out of the ground.

Acknowledging there is still work to be done to prevent the snares from being set in the first place, the young gorillas seeming to have learned to identify and disarm the snares themselves is thought to be promising. The gorilla fund noted that just a couple days ago a gorilla was freed from such a snare in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park but died from the wounds.

The blog points out that adult gorillas have been known to disable snares, but this is the first time the youth have been observed taking on the traps.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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