Gorilla arm in rope snare

Ingingo’s arm caught in the rope snare

This week, on Monday, October 15, a team of gorilla trackers in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) found Ingingo, a female infant mountain gorilla in Amahoro group, caught in a snare that had been rigged in a section of bamboo forest. Gorilla Doctors was alerted right away, and our team immediately mobilized to the park.

Upon arrival, Drs. Noel, Gaspard, Methode and Adrien observed Ingingo with the rope around her left wrist, with the snare forcing her left arm to hang suspended from the bamboo. Our Gorilla Doctors team and Volcanoes National Park agreed that a full clinical intervention was necessary in order to free her.

Our veterinarians quickly prepared a pole syringe with anesthetic drugs and dosed her: once she was fully anesthetized, Gorilla Doctors quickly cut the rope snare off her wrist. Fortunately, despite the fact that Ingingo had struggled to try to free herself, the snare had not been on long enough or tight enough to cause swelling or a wound.

Young gorilla with arm caught in snare set by poachers

Ingingo with arm caught in rope snare

As always, the veterinarians performed a physical examination, and collected various biological specimens in order to fully assess Ingingo’s health. Once their work was completed, Gorilla Doctors carried a still-sleeping Ingingo to a place closer to the rest of the Amahoro group, and then administered an anesthetic reversal agent as well as a pain-reliever and antibiotics. She woke up quickly and rejoined her family.

Trackers checked on Ingingo the next day after Gorilla Doctors removed the snare,  and reported that she behaving normally, with no apparent ill effects from the unfortunately events of her previous day.

In addition to the snare that was removed from Ingingo, Volcanoes National Park staff found and destroyed seven other snares from this same section of bamboo forest.

As was the case earlier this month in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda), when trackers find ensnared gorillas so soon after they get caught, Gorilla Doctors is able to rapidly respond, and the result is that these gorillas suffer minimal physical injury from the snares.

In fact, Gorilla Doctors and collaborators recently published a scientific paper on snare-related injuries and outcomes in mountain gorillas in Rwanda: between 1995-2015, Gorilla Doctors treated 37 gorillas caught in snares; young animals were more frequently caught in snares than older gorillas, and not surprisingly, the longer a snare was on a gorilla, the more likely it suffered more serious injury and perhaps even lasting impairment.