Not long after a poacher’s trap killed a young mountain gorilla in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, researchers actually witnessed a couple of four year old gorillas working together to take apart other traps in the area. Large gorillas are able to use their strength to do this, but the younger ones aren’t.

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“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that . . . I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares. We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas . . . so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that.” – Veronica Vecellio from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda

It’s sad to think that thousands of snares are set up in these areas, leaving many animals to be caught and left to die.

As Science Alert Points Out:

While adult gorillas are large and strong enough to extract themselves, young gorillas often are not, and if they don’t die from being stuck in the trap, they run a very real risk of dying from injuries sustained during their escape, such as dislocated bones and gangrenous cuts.

Here is the brief version of how the events unfolded from National Geographic:

On Tuesday tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away, Vecellio said.

Suddenly two juveniles—Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old—ran toward the trap.

As Ndayambaje and a few tourists watched, Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.

The pair then spied another snare nearby—one the tracker himself had missed—and raced for it. Joined by a third gorilla, a teenager named Tetero, Rwema and Dukore destroyed that trap as well.

Humans have strayed far from the teachings of our ancestors. We once knew the importance of preserving and respecting all living things on this planet. Now, with the rise of today’s consumerist culture, we focus instead on acquiring material possessions, only to discard them and acquire even more, newer versions of these possessions. Worse still, much of what we purchase today has its roots in child labor and animal cruelty/suffering, and all of this is done for the sake of economic growth and globalization.

As a result, as studies have recently shown, the Earth has entered into a mass extinction phase. Vertebrates are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal. These include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and there are several reasons for this decline. For example, an acre of land is cleared every second to graze animals and grow their food crops, resulting in the loss of over one hundred plant, animal, and insect species. Climate change, pollution, and deforestation seem to be the main culprits.

At the rate we are going, it seems unlikely that humans will be able to survive on this planet as close as one hundred years from now.

This entire experience, however, has served us in a way like no other. More and more people are starting to become aware of what is really happening on this planet and are starting to feel the urge to change. This is a good sign, and something that’s desperately needed at this time. I personally feel that our planet is actually shifting itself in the right direction, but it seems likely that it will be a challenging, if worthwhile, process for us all.


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