We’re so sad to report that Ndakasi, the mountain gorilla who struck a pose in a selfie that went viral in 2019 has died at the age of 14.
According to officials at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ndakasi had a prolonged illness and died on September 26 in the arms of her caretaker. We posted a heartbreaking picture of her in her last days on our Instagram account.
She was found by Virunga rangers in 2007 when she was just 2 months old as she was clinging to the body of her dead mother that was tragically killed by armed militia. Thankfully, the rangers decided to rescue young Ndakasi after realizing that none of her family members were to be found. It was determined that the baby gorilla was too vulnerable to live in the wild.
Shortly after the rescue, the rangers transferred Ndakasi to the Senkwekwe Center, an orphanage for mountain gorillas. It was then that Andre Bauma became her caretaker and lifelong friend for 11 years. Andre supported her and loved her after the poor baby experienced such incredible trauma.
Ndakasi’s personality stood out and shined and although she was most famous for the funny selfie that went viral, she was also featured in films and documentaries. Her life became a symbol of survival for the whole species, especially since it was once endangered. When Ndakasi was born, the population was only 720.
The massacre of Ndakasi’s family and others was a catalyst that prompted Congolese authorities to change security reforms in the park so that the species could be protected.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef, we’re so heartbroken by this loss. We could tell that Ndakasi was a shining light and that she was well cared for. We know the world was a better place because of her.
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(Cover image: Kiki Dohmeier/Shutterstock)