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Mountain gorilla seized
05 May 2009

A baby gorilla has been seized from animal traffickers in eastern DR Congo following a 3-month undercover investigation aiming to expose an international wildlife smuggling ring. One suspected trafficker was arrested at Goma International Airport on Sunday 26 April while disembarking from a flight from Walikale (in the interior of the country and close to gorilla habitat).
 
The young gorilla was found in a bag concealed under clothes, and, having spent more than 6 hours in transit, was suffering from over-heating and dehydration.

The female eastern lowland gorilla, aged approximately 2 years, is currently
being looked after by ICCN carers as well as vets from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. As well as suffering from dehydration and malnutrition, the gorilla has a puncture would on her right leg and numerous cuts and bruises across her body.

Emmanuel de Merode, Director of Virunga National Park said,
"Our work has revealed a significant upsurge in the trafficking of baby
gorillas in recent months, possibly as a result of the war last year.
Investigations have yet to reveal where these animals are being sent and
who is buying them. We must remember that for each trafficked baby gorilla several gorillas have probably been killed in the wild. If we want to preserve our gorillas - and other wildlife - significant resources must be invested to put a stop to these trafficking rings."

Despite being visibly weak the, as yet, unnamed young gorilla is responding well to treatment; it is not known how long ago she was taken from the forests of eastern DR Congo.

 

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
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org