Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Orphaned mountain gorilla babies return home to Congo National Park

Date:
December 4, 2009
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
More than two years after being evacuated following the 2007 killings of their mothers, mountain gorilla babies Ndakasi and Ndeze have returned home to the Democratic Republic of Congo, moving into a new custom-built forest sanctuary.

Caption/Description: Orphan mountain gorillas (both female) Ndeze and Ndakasi in their new home at Senkwekwe Center.
Credit: University of California, Davis

More than two years after being evacuated following the 2007 killings of their mothers, mountain gorilla babies Ndakasi and Ndeze have returned home to the Democratic Republic of Congo, moving into a new custom-built forest sanctuary.

Related Articles


The Dec. 1 move was coordinated by the UC Davis-based Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, which has been providing veterinary care for the orphans since they were rescued.

"The move was a great success thanks to the tremendous effort of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project staff, and the caretakers and staff from the Congolese wildlife authorities," said UC Davis wildlife veterinarian Mike Cranfield, who is the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project's executive director and co-director of the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program.

"The orphans will now have the chance to grow up in a safe, healthy environment that is very similar to their natural habitat and close to their surviving family members."

UC Davis wildlife veterinarian Kirsten Gilardi, co-director of the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program, said it is too soon to know whether the orphans might ever live free. These two young females and two other orphans are the only mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in captivity in the world. An estimated 750 mountain gorillas survive in the wild.

"Whether or not Ndeze and Ndakasi can be returned to the wild will be the decision of the Congolese wildlife and park authorities, and will depend on the gorillas' development over the next several years," Gilardi said. "Moving them to this new, much more naturalistic setting is certainly a step in the right direction, and a vast improvement for their current well-being."

Since the 2007 gorilla massacres, the orphans had been living with caretakers in the city of Goma in a makeshift facility run by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. While the orphans received excellent care at the Goma facility, its location in the middle of a hot, dusty city directly behind a busy hotel was far from ideal. A rebel invasion of Virunga National Park delayed the construction of the sanctuary until this year. The area has now been deemed safe for the gorillas to return.

The orphans' new home is Senkwekwe Center, built near Virunga National Park headquarters in Rumangabo. The facility was constructed by the Congolese wildlife authorities (known locally as the ICCN, for Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature) in part with significant donations from the nonprofit group Canadian Friends of the MVGP.

Named after Ndeze's silverback father, who was also killed in 2007, the sanctuary encloses 2.5 acres of natural forest and includes a 1,600-square-yard interior holding facility where the babies are currently staying. Under round-the-clock care by ICCN staffers, Ndakasi and Ndeze will be able to explore an environment filled with trees they can climb and planted with native foods they can eat.

"The orphans seemed to adjust to their new surroundings right away," said Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project regional veterinary manager Jan Ramer. "Within 15 minutes they had pulled down a banana tree and started eating it."

"While it's a tragedy that gorillas are not able to live in the forest with their families, this facility allows them to live at the right altitude, in the right climate, and among the right vegetation for wild mountain gorillas. It's the best place for them right now," she added.

One of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project's veterinarians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eddy Kambale, will stay with the orphans at Senkwekwe Center for a week to make sure they continue to adjust well to their surroundings. He and fellow Congolese Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project veterinarian Jacques Iyanya will also follow up with regular health checks.

The Mountain Gorilla One Health Program was established at UC Davis in April with funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Orphaned mountain gorilla babies return home to Congo National Park." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203163146.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2009, December 4). Orphaned mountain gorilla babies return home to Congo National Park. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203163146.htm
University of California - Davis. "Orphaned mountain gorilla babies return home to Congo National Park." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203163146.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins