In the Congolese bush in 2007, rangers from Virunga National Park rescued a 2-month-old gorilla named Ndakasi. Her mother’s life had been cut short by poachers, and she’d been discovered clutching her mother’s body.
Ndakasi’s narrative, despite her traumatic origins, is one of kindness and love.
Ndakasi met Andre Bauma, a caretaker at the park’s gorilla nursery, not long after she was rescued from the bush. Bauma never left the orphaned gorilla’s side during her first night away from her mother.
The park workers reported, “Through a severe rain storm that lasted all night, Andre hugged baby Ndakasi tightly to his bare chest to keep her warm and give her comfort.”
Ndakasi not only made it through the night due to Bauma and the rest of the orphanage’s workers. She would eventually grow up to be happy and healthy.
Ndakasi was photographed in the company of those who loved her in a lovely selfie published by the park in 2019.
Each day of Ndakasi’s life was a gift, given the circumstances of her rescue as a struggling infant. However, it regrettably came to an end too soon.
Ndakasi, a 14-year-old gorilla, died of an illness this week, according to his caregivers. Though it’s tragic to have lost her so young, her final moments were filled with affection.
The park added, “Ndakasi exhaled her dying breath in the loving arms of her keeper and dear friend, Andre Bauma.”
Ndakasi may be no longer with us, but she will not be forgotten. And those who gave her a second opportunity at a happy existence will keep working to give orphaned gorillas like her hope.
The refuge staff at Virunga National Park wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There is a bond that binds us,” Bauma explained. “The guardians and the gorillas have a very, very tight bond.”