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Rwanda Recovers Stolen Baby Mountain Gorilla


A handout out photo released on August 9, 2011 by the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project shows a member of staff taking samples from a stolen infant mountain gorilla at an orphan care facility for gorillas in Kinigi

A handout out photo released on August 9, 2011 by the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project shows a member of staff taking samples from a stolen infant mountain gorilla at an orphan care facility for gorillas in Kinigi

An African wildlife park says Rwandan police have arrested poachers who stole a baby mountain gorilla, an endangered species.

Virunga National Park, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says Rwandan authorities recovered the eight-month-old male gorilla Sunday night, reportedly in the city of Gisenyi.

A park statement says the poachers captured the gorilla six days earlier and were trying to smuggle it from Congo to Rwanda.

Veterinarian Jan Ramer says the baby gorilla had a cold and looked tense, but otherwise appeared to be in good condition. Officials say the suspected smugglers had fed the animal bananas and sugar cane.

The park's director, Dr. Emmanuel de Merode, says the incident is "unacceptable" and reflects the enormous pressures faced by park rangers.

He said 11 rangers have been killed protecting the park since the beginning of this year.

The Virunga park holds rare animals including about one-third of the world's population of mountain gorillas.

Several local and foreign armed groups are active in the area, including the Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

In January, Rwanda Hutu rebels carried out an attack in Virunga, killing eight people including three park rangers.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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