This is one of the most precious and sad things you might see today. Ndakasi the gorilla was photographed passing away in the arms of her ranger rescuer. It was 14 years ago when Andre Bauma found the little gorilla clinging onto her lifeless mother.
In Congo, conservation efforts for animals like the mountain gorillas are difficult. Unrest in the region, poachers, and other issues make it hard work. Bauma and fellow ranger Mathieu Shamavu rescued Ndakasi after a militia wiped out her family.
The gorilla was just two months old back in 2007. Since then she has lived at the Senkwekwe Center in Virunga National Park in Congo. In the picture, Ndakasi and Bauma sit next to one another on a blanket on the floor. The Great Ape is leaned into the ranger’s chest as she passes away.
Although she was never able to return to the wild, she lived a happy life in the Senkwekwe Center. She made deep connections with the rangers that cared for her. If she sounds familiar, she went viral after posing for selfies with Shamavu. Some remarked how she mocked the pose of her human friend.
Truthfully, Ndakasi lived a relatively short life. For gorillas, they are infants until they are about 3-4 years old. Once they reach age 8 they are full-fledged adults. These animals can live up to 40 years in the wild. For those in captivity, they can sometimes reach over 50 years old.
Ndakasi suffered from an illness. That quickly deteriorated the gorilla’s overall health.
Rangers Remember Ndakasi the Gorilla
Bauma and Ndakasi grew very close over the years. When she was a little gorilla, she had to be kept close to his body to keep warm. The ranger reflected on his friend’s life.
“It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age. One could say that she took after her moth, Nyiransekuye, whose name means “someone happy to welcome others.”
“It was Ndakasi’s sweet nature,” Bauma continued, “and intelligence that helped me to understand the connection between humans and Great Apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them.”
After spending so much time with the gorilla and working at the Center for so long, Bauma and his fellow rangers really got to know this animal. Something that few people will get to experience in their lives. Bauma’s fellow rangers also had a statement about the passing of Ndakasi.
“Ndakasi’s playful nature was a reminder to the world of how much we see ourselves in these animals and it’s one of the reasons Andre Bauma will miss her so dearly.”