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Baby gorilla dies after being caught in a poacher's snare
25 February 2010

A baby gorilla has died after being trapped in a snare in the Virunga National Park in DR Congo.

It’s thought Nsekanabo was born in 2008, at a time when rangers did not have access to the gorillas because of fighting between Rwandan rebels and the DR Congo army. Nsekanabo was one of five gorillas born during this period into the Kabirizi family, which is a large family of 34 individuals. His name meant “he who smiles easily”.

Rangers found the injured baby gorilla trapped in a poacher’s snare by the ankle. His face was also badly injured, probably from trying to free himself in panic. Rangers managed to free Nsekanabo and doctors surgically removed the remains of the snare and stitched up his damaged face. His mother Tumaini was sedated so that the baby could be separated from her for surgery.

Tumaini cares for her baby after he is trapped in a snare

Tumaini and her baby Nsekanabo. His snare injuries were too serious and he could not be saved. (Photo: Gorilla.CD)

Despite initial optimism, the next day rangers discovered that Nsekanabo had died. Vets believe the death was caused by unavoidable toxic shock from the removal of the snare.

Tumaini continued to carry her baby for several days before rangers could retrieve the body. Nsekanabo was buried in the Gorilla Cemetery at Rumangabo alongside other victims of poaching.

Gorilla graveyard

Baby Nsekanabo was buried alongside other gorillas who were victims of poaching (Photo: Gorilla.CD)


Rangers continue their dangerous work of monitoring and protecting the gorillas as best as they can in the Virunga National Park. Around half of the world's 720 remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virungas.

To support our rangers by providing them with equipment packs, please visit our online shop.

for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123