Baby with the snare around his neck.

This blog was written by Dr. Jan and Dr. Fred

Remember the little gorilla in Nykagezi group who had a snare removed from his leg 2 months ago?  The same poor infant of mother Inshuti and silverback Mark got another snare on November 22, and this time it is a wire snare around his neck.  The snare is like a tie, loose enough that he can breath, but with a 40 cm trailing end down his front.  He holds onto the trailing end when he moves, to keep it from getting caught in the foliage. 

 Hiking to the group in Mgahinga National Park

The morning after we heard the news we sent a team of Gorilla Doctors to Mgahinga National Park, the forest in Uganda where Nyakagezi group lives.  We worked with a team of trackers, and that day the team successfully darted Inshuti, the mother, hoping to take the baby from her to remove the snare.  Unfortunately Mark scooped up the infant and ran into the forest.  It was impossible in the next 3 attempts to get close enough to the group to attempt a darting – they were much too suspicious, and in deep, thick vegetation so visibility was not good.  Mark and Inshuti, along with the 2 other silverbacks, Bigingo and Mafia, and 2 black back gorillas, are very protective of this little boy. Mark and Inshuti keep the baby between them, and are very, very wary of our presence, with Mark charging our team several times.

There are at least 7 gorillas hiding in these plants. How many can you see?

Another team headed up to attempt intervention on 2 and 3 December, however the gorillas continued to be suspicious, and were again in very thick vegetation.  We were frustrated and heartbroken for this little baby. Here is a video of our last attempt:

After six attempts, we decided to give the group a rest from intervention attempts.  Dr. Jan and Dr. Fred went to visit the group, pretending to be tourists, and the gorillas were much more calm, giving us a chance to observe the baby fairly well.  He remains alert and responsive, and he has been seen nursing normally and eating a bit of vegetation, however he is clearly traumatized by this foreign object around his neck, and he does not play with the group’s other infant at all anymore. 

Our next attempt is today – fingers crossed for the team, and for this baby!