Young Gorillas Disarm Hunters' Traps


Photo: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Researchers at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda noticed that young gorillas in the reserve did something remarkable: they can disarm traps left by hunters.

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.

The speed with which everything happened makes Vecellio, the gorilla program coordinator, think this wasn't the first time the young gorillas had outsmarted trappers.

"They were very confident," she said. "They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left."

Ker Than of National Geographic News has the story: Link

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Adapting, learning, using tools. It's exciting to watch the spark of invention and creativity grow in another species. The mind boggles to think of where gorillas will be in a 10,000 years.
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