Acting on a tip, Christian Shamavu (pictured holding his namesake) and three rangers executed the sting operation in the town of Kirumba (map), near the western border of Virunga National Park, last week.
Two weeks earlier, they had been thwarted in their pursuit of the same gorilla traffickers after the suspects failed to show up for a meeting in another remote town.
This time, Christian and another ranger, dressed in civilian clothes, made contact with the three poachers, who were hiding the baby gorilla in a backpack.
After negotiating a selling price of U.S. $15,000, the disguised rangers lured the poachers into a waiting vehicle to make the exchange.
"I knew we were on dangerous ground and a single mistake could be fatal," Christian, who didn't know whether the poachers were armed, said via email.
Once inside the car, the poachers were surprised to find the other two rangers pointing their guns at them. The driver locked the doors and sped off down a dirt road at high speed with the poachers and baby gorilla in the car.
(Read about another baby gorilla rescued in the Congo in 2010.)