Vets from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) were called to the scene to examine the baby. The MGVP primarily works with wild gorillas, but they also provide care to gorillas orphaned as a result of illegal wildlife trade or armed conflict, such as the six orphaned Grauers gorillas recently transferred to the Grace sanctuary in DRC after many years of care by staff at the MGVP in Rwanda. (read more)
The gorilla baby was very stressed and exhausted having been kept captive for one week by the poachers and fed only bananas and sugar cane. It was then taken to the orphan quarantine facility in Kinigi for further examination and care by the MGVP.
A full examination and health check the following day (Monday) revealed that the baby is a little girl! She has a cough but is otherwise healthy and the signs for her eventual recovery look good. She has been named ‘Ihirwe’ which means ‘Luck’ in the local language Kinyarwanda. Ihirwe will be given 24 hour care in the quarantine facility for 30 days, after which it is likely she will be moved to the Senkwekwe center in Virunga National Park, which is currently home to four other orphan mountain gorillas: Ndeze, Ndakasi, Maisha, and Kaboko. Sadly Ihirwe will not be able to return to her family.
Thankfully Ihirwe’s experience is a rare one, she is the first baby to enter MGVPs care since 2007. It is however further testament to the precious situation of this species. With only 786 individuals left in the world, mountain gorillas are a critically endangered population.
Volcanoes believe that carefully managed eco-tourism has an important role to play in the conservation efforts of the mountain gorillas, and ensuring local people earn a stake in tourism is vital if they are to appreciate the importance of protecting both man’s nearest cousins and their habitats. (read more)
Read more about little Ihirwe’s rescue and progress and the vital work done by the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary project.
(pictures courtesy of the MGVP)