A pair of young gorillas are captured by a photographer while figuring out how to destroy a poacher’s snare. The juvenile gorilla exhibited “impressive cognitive skill” when disabling a snare which could have caused their death, The Blaze reports. Earlier this year an orangutan gnawed off its own arm to escape an illegal poaching snare. A gorilla from the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park was freed from a hunting snare earlier this week by park staff, but later died from its wounds.
Staffers at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center believe the young gorillas may have disabled snares before considering the accomplished manner they used when taking the poaching trap apart.
“They were very confident. They saw what they had to do, they did it and then they left,” Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke representative told National Geographic.
Gorilla field data coordinator John Ndayambaja noticed the young gorillas near a poacher’s snare and decided to deactivate the illegal hunting device. As Ndayambaja got closer to the group of gorillas a Silverback Vuba issues a deep grunting vocal warning to stay away. The juvenile gorillas, known to researchers as Rwema and Dukore bounded toward the snare. A blackback gorilla known as Tetero ran with the little gorillas and helped them pull down the branch which held a rope attached to the hunting snare.
The trio of gorilla’s then spotted another snare and destroyed, the poacher’s trap and pulled the attached rope from the ground as quickly as they had done the first time, according to the research center’s blog. Although eliminating illegal snares and catching poachers is the first line of defense in protecting wild gorilla groups, researchers are reportedly encouraged the animals are learning how to guard themselves from hunters.
As noted by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund staff, adult gorillas have disabled snares before, but the attempted poaching incident this week is the first time a young gorilla has been known to destroy hunting traps.