Astonishing pictures of the young gorillas who worked together to dismantle the poachers' trap that killed their friends

For Rwanda's population of Mountain gorillas, poaching remains one of the biggest threats to their long-term survival. But after decades of being a prime target for unlawful hunters, these critically endangered gorillas have apparently learned to outsmart them -- and even the youngsters are getting in on the act.

This week, conservationists from Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund observed, for the first time ever, a pair of juvenile gorillas doing something remarkably clever: destroying sharp, wooden snares set out by poachers to trap them. Just days earlier, a gorilla had been killed in a similar snare nearby, which may have familiarized the youngsters with the workings of those cruel devices.

"We knew that gorillas do this but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks. Today, two juveniles and one blackback from Kuryama’s group worked together to deactivate two snares and how they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill," said Veronica Vecellio, a program director from the Fund.

John Ndayambaje, our field data coordinator, reported that he saw one snare very close to the group; since the gorillas were moving in that direction, he decided to deactivate it. Silverback Vuba pig-grunted at him (a vocalization of warning) and at the same time juveniles Dukore and Rwema together with blackback Tetero ran toward the snare and together pulled the branch used to hold the rope. They saw another snare nearby and as quickly as before they destroyed the second branch and pulled the rope out of the ground.

John and his team were able to dismantle several other snares in the area, but they're quick to point out that poaching of gorillas has far from quelled. However, with a greater push towards conservation and some much needed international awareness, Rwanda's mountain gorilla numbers have grown by 17 percent in the last 15 years, proving that such in the field efforts really pay off -- though it's not just humans helping to keep the jungle a safer place for the species, says the Fund:

"Today we can proudly confirm that gorillas are doing their part too!"

The astonishing moment when two young mountain gorillas were spotted working together to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home.

The pair we able to rip the snare apart without harming themselves.

The two young gorillas in Rwanda who were spotted taking apart poachers traps

The gorillas were spotted near the Karisoke Research Center, located in the reserve where the event took place.

Responses to "Young Gorillas Observed Destroying Poachers' Traps"

  1. Linda says:

    My GF on FB posted these today!! Amazing what these young guns did to those traps...I am glad they did...:)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, good they understood an destroyed the traps. Good work boys. :)

  3. dirtmother says:

    If only all of them would do this. Poachers should be tortured just like they torture.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now perhaps they will learn to set traps for the poachers. That would be a good thing. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    It's amazing that the gorillas are learning how to destroy those horrible traps. I hope more of them will learn how to do this safely now.

  6. fkl says:

    This just shows the innate wisdom which all species. possess. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Anonymous says:

    that makes my heart rejoice, such strength, beauty and intelligence, I am grateful they are learning

  8. Anonymous says:

    it's only fair game. Sorry poachers, here's a big 'fuck you' from mother nature.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Gorillas who are smarter than poachers. Cool!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now if only humans good get smart enough to stop kiling the
    young, before they are ever born!! Why not label those in abortion clinics, baby poachers???????

  11. Unknown says:

    good work boys :D

  12. Anonymous says:

    Just think what home schooling could do for us-Way to to go boys-keep it up-nest lesson---(giving them a fighting chance) look down the barrel-pull trigger-

  13. Anonymous says:

    i wish those poachers and the morons who fund such killings are trapped in these snares.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Being able to see how smart they are and how they CLEARLY think for themselves and still being sick and diluted enough to trap and kill these creatures is disturbing. I agree, I hope the gorillas will plot out traps for the poachers. Kill the evil breed and let the innocents live their lives.

  15. Anonymous says:

    good!!! God bless all the animals!! and bad things should happen to the disgusting poachers!!

  16. Unknown says:

    Poachers should be shot and killed! Love to see good stories like this! Good for them!

  17. Unknown says:

    Poachers should be shot and killed! Love to see good stories like this! Good for them!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Truly amazing!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, without doub : We must learn from animals.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree. An eye for an eye!!:-)

  21. Gyan says:

    My guess is that the gorillas have been watching the traps at work at figured out how to dismantle. Not surprising given the types of skills the great apes can pick up. I won't be surprised if this gorilla colony will eventually form a "trap sweeping" culture unique only to this particular colony. Whatever it is, their ability to react can teach us a lot about our own beginnings as human beings.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic. Now if only more people would follow their example. Deer stands and blinds are easy to spot and dismantle. If one lives in an area with adequate snowfall, leghold traps and snares can be easily found. Just follow the trapper's footprints. Do it now. If not you, who? If not now, when?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Payback is a bitch. Good work, gorillas!

  24. Unknown says:

    I'm waiting for them to start building their own snares for poachers!!!

  25. Unknown says:,

  26. It always fascinates me when I hear people talk about "dumb animals." If these animals are so dumb, we humans are really quite fortunate. Were they a great deal more intelligent than they appear to be, we might really be in for a wild ride. Has anyone ever watched any of the "Planet of the Apes." movies?

  27. Morgana says:


  28. nancy gates says:

    I am so happy that the gorillas have learned to open the traps so they won't get hurt, and especially glad their population has increased!!!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    How could we go so completely wrong and underestimate them and overestimate us?

  30. Surati says:

    Now the Gorilla's can set some snares for the poeachers.

  31. Unknown says:

    Tak to je úžasné, věděla jsem že jsou to chytrá zvířátka a moc je miluji a jsem šťastná že se to naučili ... jen tak dál .. dobrá práce <3

  32. Francek says:

    Why no option to share?I wish to share this post on my Facebook profile..

  33. cathy t says:

    i am so happy that the gorillas have learned how to dismantel poachers traps. and i think the poachers should be caught in their own traps and see how the gorillas feel and suffer

  34. Anonymous says:

    It would be neat if these gorillas could fashion a trap to catch a poacher and let him set there for a while.

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