World Famous Gorilla Ndakasi Dies at Age 14- Virunga National Park

World Famous Gorilla Ndakasi Dies at Age 14- Virunga National Park. : A 14-year-old orphaned mountain gorilla that went viral in 2019 while posing for a picture with her career has died. Ndakasi died late last month after succumbing to a protracted illness, according to a statement issued by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park on Tuesday.

“It is with profound regret that Virunga announces the death of cherished orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakasi, who had been cared for by the Park’s Senkwekwe Center for more than a decade,” stated the statement.

“Ndakasi breathed her last breath in the loving embrace of her career and dear friend, Andre Bauma,” the statement continued.

Ndakasi was only two months old when rangers at Virunga National Park discovered her clinging to the body of her mother, who had been shot by armed gunmen. The baby gorilla was transported to a rescue center in Goma, where she met Bauma, who would become her caregiver for over a decade.

Ndakasi survived, but she was considered too fragile to be released back into the wild, so she was relocated to Senkwekwe Center within Virunga National Park, along with another orphaned gorilla. According to the park, the institution is the only one of its type in the world that cares for orphaned mountain gorillas.

“She went on to enjoy a serene life with her carers and other orphaned mountain gorillas for more than 11 years,” according to the park’s obituary. Ndakasi has appeared in a number of media projects, including a Virunga documentary. However, the photogenic gorilla gained popularity in 2019 after a “selfie” she took with another gorilla and Bauma went viral on Earth Day.

It was a privilege, according to Bauma, to support and care for Ndakasi throughout her life, and their companionship helped him comprehend the link between people and Great Apes.

“I adored her like a child, and her upbeat demeanour made me grin every time I connected with her,” Bauma recalled. “She will be missed by all of us at Virunga, but we will be eternally thankful for the richness Ndakasi gave to our lives at Senkwekwe.”

World Famous Gorilla Ndakasi Dies at Age 14
World Famous Gorilla Ndakasi Dies at Age 14

According to Virunga, Ndakasi was born at a critical juncture in the global population of mountain gorillas.

About Senkwekwe Centre in Virunga National Park-Congo.

The Senkwekwe Centre, the world’s sole institution for orphaned mountain gorillas, is located near the headquarters of Virunga National Park in Rumangabo. The Senkwekwe Centre is a unique refuge affording the gorillas the chance to live happy and safe lives in its wooded enclosure, with experienced personnel providing daily care for the orphans who were individually separated from their family due to the impact of poaching.

After a period of violent warfare, Park Rangers reclaimed control of Virunga in early 2009. Shortly after, park personnel began increasing awareness of two juvenile orphan mountain gorillas in their care. Ndeze and Ndakasi, orphans, had been compelled by wartime conditions to reside in a cramped compound in the adjacent city of Goma. Goma, in contrast to their natural habitat, is extremely polluted, loud, and mostly constructed on a lava flow devoid of vegetation.

Once the Southern Sector was safe again, a team went out to gather funds for the construction of a care center at the Park headquarters in Rumangabo. The facility’s location was ideal: lush woodland, teeming with wildlife, vast – and secure.

Maisha and Koboko, two additional orphan mountain gorillas, were brought to the Senkwekwe Center towards the end of 2010. They had traveled from Rwanda, where they had been housed in a tiny facility. The four gorillas quickly adjusted in and formed a close-knit family. Unfortunately, both Koboko and Maisha are no longer with us, having died as a result of health issues.

Mazuka was caught in a trap in 2018. Despite the heroic efforts of our rangers and gorilla medics, she had been confined for a few days, her foot was seriously injured and infected, and it needed to be removed. She is currently a resident of the gorilla sanctuary, where she has successfully assimilated with her fellow gorillas.

The Senkwekwe Center in Virunga National Park is also important in rehabilitating orphaned eastern lowland gorillas seized from wildlife traffickers. These gorilla orphans are then moved to the GRACE facility for eastern lowland gorillas, which is also located in eastern DRC.

World Famous Gorilla Ndakasi Dies at Age 14
Senkwenkwe Gorilla Orphanage

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