They were friends for life: Ranger Andre Bauma and mountain gorilla Ndakasi went through thick and thin for 14 years. Now the gorilla has fallen asleep in the keeper’s arms.
Congo – Ndakasi was world famous. The mountain gorilla became a global sensation after a fun selfie with a park ranger. Last week, one last picture of the friendly gorilla lady was taken: she takes her last breaths in the arms of her rescuer. The photo moves people to tears all over the world.
Gorilla Ndakasi’s tragic story: Your mother was shot dead
She was only two months old when rangers discovered the baby gorilla. In 2007, the men found Ndakasi in the rainforest, pressed tightly to their mother’s dead body. She was able to escape the bullets of the armed militias, for her mother any help came too late. As an orphan, the little gorilla could not have survived alone in the wild, she was taken to a rescue center. There she met the zookeeper Andre Bauma.
According to the national park, Andre held the baby close to him all night and hugged the tiny body tightly to his bare chest to warm and comfort it as a substitute for the killed mother. Because of her friend’s love, the animal survived, but the terrible memories of her mother’s murder triggered trauma in Ndakasi. A return to the rainforest was no longer possible, she was helpless without her friend Andre. She stayed by his side for 11 years and found a happy home in the Senkwekw center.
A selfie made Ndakasi world famous: with a big belly and big smile, he became an internet star
Ndakasi was no ordinary gorilla. Her heartwarming personality has garnered her multiple appearances in shows and films. In a documentary she shows her infectious laugh while being tickled by a carer. But only her selfie with her gorilla friend Ndeze and a ranger brought her worldwide fame. In the photo, the two are standing on their feet, sticking out their big bellies with relish and grinning happily at the camera. “Their playful manner reminded the world how much we find ourselves in these animals, and that is one of the reasons why Andre Bauma will miss them so much,” writes the national park.
Ndakasi died “in the loving arms of her caretaker”
On the website of the national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the gorilla lady is officially adopted: “It is with deep sadness that Virunga announces the death of the beloved orphaned mountain gorilla Ndakasi, who has been in the care of the park’s Senkwekwe center for more than ten years. On the evening of September 26th, after a long illness in which her condition rapidly deteriorated, Ndakasi took her last breath in the loving arms of her carer and lifelong friend Andre Bauma. “
Ranger Andre Baumann says goodbye to his girlfriend
Farewell is difficult for the park ranger Andre Baumann. It was a privilege for him to “support and look after such a loving being, especially when you know what trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age.” This being and her intelligence helped the caregiver, the close connection between people and to understand great apes. They are the ancestors of man, we should “do everything in our power” to protect the lives of these unique animals, says Andre.
“I am proud to have called Ndakasi my friend. I loved her like a child, and her cheerful personality put a smile on my face every time I dealt with her. We will all miss her in Virunga, but we are forever grateful for the wealth that Ndakasi brought into our lives during her time in Senkwekwe. ”Andre Bauma’s words move to tears, his special love can still be felt thousands of kilometers away . Pure goosebumps!
Mountain gorillas threatened with extinction in Virunga: Ndakasi’s history made a big difference
It is not just Ndakasi’s laughter, her intelligence and her love that will be remembered by people. The gruesome murder of her entire family prompted the authorities in Congo to implement reforms that were long overdue. The national park received institutional and security innovations that could significantly strengthen the protection of the mountain gorillas. Today, after 14 years, the species population has recovered and the extinction of native animals has been prevented. “In the course of its life, the species has grown by 47% – from 720 animals in 2007 to an estimated 1,063 in 2021,” the park reports on its website.
Even if the death of the gorilla lady Ndakasi means a great loss, she has achieved great things with her unique nature.
The mountain rescuers in Berchtesgadener Land also put their heart and soul into the rescue of an injured dog. (ale)