Mihanda, a female juvenile mountain gorilla who lives in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, was freed from a wire snare in an intervention led by Uganda Field Vet Dr. Fred, with support from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Mihanda was found by UWA rangers early Friday morning near her night nest, struggling to free herself from the snare. The other members of Habinyanja group were reportedly agitated, with silverback Makara charging the field team repeatedly. Even though the situation was tense, the rangers managed to cut the wire where the snare was tied to a tree so that Mihanda could move away from the site. Gorilla Doctors was notified immediately and Dr. Fred began packing his intervention kits and preparing to trek up that afternoon to remove the wire snare remnant from her hand and administer medical treatment.
Here is Dr. Fred’s report:
“Habinyanja group was ranging in the Kinyambeho area of the park on Friday in thick vegetation near the Ihihizo river. Joining me on this intervention was the Warden of Bwindi Park, Head UWA tracker Tito and UWA ranger/guide Miel, as well as Gorilla Doctors support staff Isaac and our porter, Amon. When our team arrived to the group, many of the gorillas were feeding, but a few individuals, including silverback Makara, were watching over the ensnared juvenile. Makara charged us when we first arrived, but later moved back into the vegetation.
As Mihanda moved around within the group, she raised her left hand frequently and struggled to remove the wire in vain. She hid the hand from curious infants who approached her to inspect the snare. Mihanda’s body condition was good; she appeared to be well hydrated, her abdomen was ¾ full and she was bright, alert and responsive. Her fingers were swollen and bleeding however, and she had a wound on her right elbow.
I darted Mihanda with anesthesia to begin the intervention and she was fully sedated at 3:30pm. Though some of the group members charged when Mihanda was darted, they moved off quickly into the vegetation.
During the intervention, I removed the wire, cleaned and flushed her wounds, administered antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications and collected samples for testing and future research.
The intervention took just over 30 minutes and her recovery from the anesthesia was uneventful. She was feeding shortly after waking up.”
The UWA rangers will continue to monitor Mihanda and report any changes in behavior or signs of infection, but this young female should make a full recovery.
Snare incidents seem to be on the rise in the region: this is the 10th snare intervention that Gorilla Doctors has completed this year in the three countries where we work, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Please help us make sure we have the resources necessary to intervene and treat every ensnared eastern gorilla by making a donation to support Gorilla Doctors on our secure website: