Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 2012 Proves a Busy Time for Anti-Poaching Efforts

The holiday season and beginning weeks of the new year is notoriously a busy time for anti-poaching efforts in the Virunga Massif region.  And 2012 is shaping up to be no different. Through a combination of “routine” and “shock” patrols, the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke™ Research Center and the Rwanda Development Board’s anti-poaching rangers have already discovered and destroyed an astounding 73 snares in Volcanoes National Park this month. The confiscated snares were distributed throughout Sector II (between Mount Visoke and Mount Sabyinyo), Sector III (Mount Visoke to Mount Karisimbi) and Sector IV (Mount Karisimbi), with a concentration in Sector II and III - where the Karisoke-monitored gorilla groups range.
Field staff reported that the Sabyinyo and Pablo groups were dangerously close to the snares at the time of confiscation. In fact, Pablo’s group’s night nests were dispersed throughout the area laden with traps, with some nests just mere meters away from a snare. On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 12 snares were found and destroyed by Karisoke’s Pablo trackers, two of which had already been destroyed by the gorillas themselves when the trackers arrived. Although the field staff can’t be sure which of Pablo’s group’s 45 gorillas is responsible for dismantling the snares, 33-year-old dominant silverback Cantsbee has been observed destroying snares before, as was the group’s previous leader Pablo and silverback Shinda.

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