The mountain gorilla who became a viral online sensation around the world after posting for a selfie with a park ranger has passed away. The orphaned animal, named Ndakasi, died at the age of 14 in the arms of the park ranger who rescued her at Virunga National Park in eastern Congo this week.
- Andre Bauma had been part of Ndakasi’s life from the beginning. The gorilla was rescued when she was only two months old when she was found clinging to her mother, who had sadly been killed by poachers. She was cared for by Bauma, who held her and comforted her throughout her young life.
- Ndakasi was loved around the world. After appearing in a selfie with her fellow orphan Ndeze with park ranger Mathieu Shamavu in 2019, she became a sensation around the world by animal lovers who were tickled by the sheer amount of personality shown by Ndakasi and Ndeze. This makes the news of Ndakasi’s passing even harder to swallow.
- Bauma, Ndaskasi’s caretaker, was with her until the very end. Virunga National Park posted the announcement of the animal’s passing on Facebook this week, sharing that the 14-year-old passed away in the arms of Bauma and sharing a photo showing the animal’s last moments. “It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age,” Bauma said. “One could say that she took after her mother, Nyiransekuye, whose name means ‘someone happy to welcome others.'”
- She had been sick for a while. While Ndaskasi lived happily at the Senkwekwe Centre at the park for more than a decade, the “beloved” gorilla passed away on September 26 after a “prolonged illness in which her condition rapidly deteriorated.” Thank goodness Bauma was there to comfort her.
- Bauma and everyone at Virunga will miss Ndakasi forever. “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,” Bauma shared. “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. 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.”