Staff at a gorilla research center are getting some unexpected help to save the lives of the critically endangered animals: Gorilla youngsters are jumping in to disable poachers’ traps.
Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda recently witnessed two 4-year-olds and a teenage mountain gorilla work together to destroy the types of snares that have killed at least two young gorillas this year. It was also the first time staff members have been able to see up close exactly how gorillas dismantle the snares.
“We knew that gorillas do this, but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks,” said gorilla program coordinator Veronica Vecellio. “How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill.”