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After a tragic experience back in 2007, gorilla named Ndakasi’s life changed. The then 2-month-old Ndakasi’s mother’s life was cut short by poachers leaving. Rangers from Virunga National Park found little Ndakasi in the Congolese wilderness clutching the body of her mother.  

But Ndakasi’s story may have started out tragic but it turns into a beautiful story filled with love and care. 

Soon after Ndakasi was saved, she met Andre Bauma who is a caretaker at the park's gorilla orphanage. The first night little Ndakasi had to spend apart from her mother, Bauma felt her heartache and  never left her side. “Through a torrential rain storm that lasted all night, Andre held baby Ndakasi tightly to his bare chest to keep her warm and give her comfort,” the park staff wrote. 

Ndakasi survived the night thanks to Bauma and the orphanage's other staff and she continued to grow up happy and healthy. 

Sadly, Ndakasi life came to a much early end than hoped for. The gorilla's caretakers recently announced that Ndakasi sadly passed away at age 14 after battling an illness. The Facebook post read, “ It is with heartfelt sadness that Virunga announces the death of beloved orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakasi, who had been under the care of the Park’s Senkwekwe Center for more than a decade. On the evening of 26 September, following a prolonged illness in which her condition rapidly deteriorated, Ndakasi took her final breath in the loving arms of her caretaker and lifelong friend, Andre Bauma.”

 Although it's heartbreaking that she has gone so young, her story is filled with a huge amount of love and care. The park added, ”Ndakasi took her final breath in the loving arms of her caretaker and lifelong friend, Andre Bauma.”

"There is a bond that ties us together," Bauma said. "A relationship that is very, very close between the guardians and the gorillas."

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