Orphaned Gorilla Who Became Famous For Posing For Selfie, Dies In The Arms Of Her Caretaker At Age 14

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Orphaned Gorilla Who Became Famous For Posing For Selfie, Dies In The Arms Of Her Caretaker At Age 14

Photo: Brent Stirton/Virunga National Park


A gorilla who became famous after posing for a selfie has died 'in the loving arms' of the ranger who raised her after she was rescued at infancy.


Ndakasi, a mountain gorilla from the Democratic Republic of Congo, died aged 14 on the evening of September the 26th, following a long battle with illness. The Virunga National Park released a statement saying that Ndakasi died in the arms of the caretaker who raised her, Andre Bauma.


Ndakasi, along with another female gorilla named Ndeze, gathered publicity after posing for a selfie taken at the Virunga National Park by anti-poaching ranger, Mathieu Shamavu. In the photo, the female gorillas can be seen standing upright with their bellies out, a pose which is believed by the rangers to imitate their caretakers.


The photo was shared on Instagram in April 2019 by the Virunga National park with the caption:


"We've received dozens of messages about the photo. YES, it's real! Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities!"


A post shared by Virunga National Park (@virunganationalpark)

Ndakasi was rescued two months after she was born in April 2007, when rangers found her clinging to her dead mother who was shot dead by armed militia in a series of murders of gorilla families. After she was rescued, the baby gorilla was taken to a rehabilitation centre where she met Andre.


In a 2014 interview, Andre told the BBC:


"We shared the same bed, I played with her, I fed her… I can say I am her mother."


Ndakasi suffered from pneumonia when she was still an infant, causing her to grow vulnerable. Although she survived, she was too weak to survive on her own in the wild. However, she still enjoyed a happy life in the company of her rangers and other orphaned mountain gorillas.


At the time of her birth in 2007, mountain gorillas faced a huge risk of extinction due to civil conflict and poaching activities. However, throughout the years, the population of the species managed to increase by almost 50%, from 720 mountain gorillas in 2007, to about 1,063 in 2021.


Ndakasi has now tragically passed away at a young age (gorillas in captivity can live for up to 50 years), but the rangers at Virunga say that her spirit of survival and resilience still lives on in the national park.


Following Ndakasi's death, Andre said in a statement:


"It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age. It was Ndakasi's sweet nature 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. I am proud to have called Ndakasi my friend. I loved her like a child and her cheerful personality brought a smile to my face every time I interacted with her."


He added:


"She will be missed by all of us at Virunga but we are forever grateful for the richness Ndakasi brought to our lives during her time at Senkwekwe."


[h/t: IFL Science]


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Thinking Humanity: Orphaned Gorilla Who Became Famous For Posing For Selfie, Dies In The Arms Of Her Caretaker At Age 14
Orphaned Gorilla Who Became Famous For Posing For Selfie, Dies In The Arms Of Her Caretaker At Age 14
A gorilla who became famous after posing for a selfie has died 'in the loving arms' of the ranger who raised her after she was rescued at infancy. Nda
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