Monday, July 30, 2007

Missing Baby Gorilla From Slaughter Found Alive

Three female mountain gorillas and a male silverback were found shot dead this week in the D R Congo's Virunga National Park, but now worried conservationists have found a baby gorilla alive, RNA has established.

National Geographic News reports that park rangers yesterday discovered a five-month-old baby of one of the dead females roaming the bushes alone after losing its mother. They were killed by unknown assailants on Sunday night.

The baby gorilla, named Ndeze, was badly dehydrated but otherwise fine, the rangers reported. She was taken to the nearby city of Goma, where the young ape will be looked after at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

Ndeze was born on February 17 from now dead mother Safari bringing the Rugenge family to 12 gorillas. Another female in the group is expected to give birth.

Park rangers chose the name in honor of Rene Ndeze, a powerful local tribal chief who died two days before the newborn was discovered, even though the baby's sex isn't yet known.

The good news is tempered by memories of recent disaster, however. In January the dismembered remains of two adult male gorillas were discovered in the same area of Virunga National Park after armed rebels invaded. Rangers fear that four additional missing gorillas were also shot and eaten.

Rangers said the siblings had been seen fleetingly in the dense forest, but rangers had expected that the baby would die from dehydration because the brother could not feed her.

When they found the pair, rangers say, Ndeze's brother was reportedly calm as they took her away. Paulin Ngobobo, the head ranger of the southern sector of Virunga National Park, called the baby's rescue "an amazing piece of news."

"We had given up hope on Ndeze," National Geographic News quotes him to have said.

Story here.

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