Poachers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo allegedly tried to sell a baby gorilla for $40,000. The infant is an eastern lowland gorilla. There are only about 4,000 left in the wild, all in the the Congo. The baby was stuffed in an ordinary backpack and presented to undercover wildlife officials by three poachers. Christian Shamavu, was the lead undercover agent who met the poachers and helped arrest them. He and several other rangers had driven eight hours to a remote area to meet the poachers. Once they were apprehended the baby was taken to a wildlife center and given a health examination.
It was determined then it is one and half years old. Two caretakers have been assigned to the infant because developmentally it is as vulnerable as a human baby of the same age. A human caretaker will sleep with it each night for some time.
“Many of these infants are injured from ropes around their hands/feet or waist, and some are quite ill, which is not surprising, as they are generally in close contact with their human captors, extremely stressed, and with very poor nutrition,” said a vet who treated the baby. (Source: MSNBC.com)
If you are interested in helping African wild gorillas please visit the Virunga National Park website and learn about them. You can also donate to help the rangers protect these unique animals and their habitat.
If you aren’t interested in donating, you can help by recycling your cell phone, because cell phones contain coltan, a metal that is mined in the Congo where gorillas live. Mining coltan has damaged gorilla habitat and stressed them. Recycling coltan helps keep the price low, so there is less demand and therefore less invasion of gorilla habitat by miners and opportunists. Also the more human foot traffic there is into gorilla habitat, the harder it is to monitor poachers and their illegal activities because they can more blend into the larger human community that is there only to try to make money from coltan. With more people in gorilla habitat there is an increase in the bushmeat trade.
Image Credit: Gorilla. CD