Ndakasi the mountain gorilla became known the world over for her adorable selfie with a park ranger in Congo.
Sadly, the beloved gorilla passed away aged 14 last week, dying in Andre’s arms after a prolonged illness which rapidly deteriorated.
The viral photo (seen above) had people in stitches at the way Ndakasi mimics Mathieu Shamavu, who along with Andre Bauma, rescued her in 2007.
Andre found her clinging her mother’s lifeless body after the militia wiped out her family while hunting for bushmeat.
At just 2-months-old, Ndakasi was taken to the Senkwekwe Center in Virunga National Park to live and be rehabilitated with fellow orphaned gorilla Ndeze.
She was too vulnerable to be released back into the wild, but she lived a good life and made remarkable connections with the people who cared for her.
‘Ndakasi took her final breath in the loving arms of her caretaker and lifelong friend, Andre Bauma,’ the park rangers said.
Andre said: ‘It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age.
One could say that she took after her mother, Nyiransekuye, whose name means “someone happy to welcome others.”
‘It was her sweet nature that helped me to understand apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them.
‘I am proud to have called Ndakasi my friend. I loved her like a child and her personality brought a smile to my face every time I interacted with her.’
Virunga is one of the last parks trying to conserve mountain gorilla populations.
It’s reliance on tourism is difficult because of the dangers posed by conflicts in the region.
Tourists have to be escorted by specialist rangers and sniffer dogs for their own protection.
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