Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center

Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center is a residence of the orphaned Mountain Gorillas of Virunga National Park that situated at Virunga National Park headquarters in Rumangabo. The center is also home to low land gorillas that were evacuated from Kahuzi and Bukavu Gorillas National Parks. It’s the only Gorilla Orphanage Center in the world; such an amazing idea came in 2007 after four gorillas members of the Rugendo family were slaughtered in the attack in 2007 that orphaned Ndakasi.

Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage CenterNdakasi was a two-month-old infant when her mother was shot at close range through the back of the head – the park describes it as an “execution”. Ndakasi was still clinging to her dead mother when they found her. She was tiny; she only weighed a couple of kilos meaning that Ndakasi was the first to be housed in Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center, later she was soon joined by Ndeze, another member of the Rugendo family. The center was first settled in Goma city and letter transferred to Virunga National Park headquarters in Rumangabo near Mikeno Lodge, this was because Goma city was nothing like staying in their natural habitat as the city is crowded, noisy and has little or no vegetation making it hard for the orphan gorillas to survive thus the idea of shifting to Park headquarters gave gorillas a second chance at life.

Such an amazing ideal fueled by a serious online campaign that helped them raise funds of about USD 211,000 from good Samaritans to start this establishment. The World Heritage Organization saw that these funds were matched to the expenses and hence the success of the center reopened up in 2010.

As the years draw near in 2010, the two females were joined by Maisha, another female, and Kaboko, a male – both had been seized by poachers, and Kaboko had lost his hand in a snare and it has been recorded that these were rescued from Rwanda. Thou it came from another country, that didn’t hesitate them to take care of since every single individual gorilla is crucial and it’s an endangered species – so they had to take care of it. Unfortunately, these two members didn’t stay at the orphanage for long as they succumbed to health complications they had which died in 2012, but since then another orphan has joined the gang – Matabishi, a young male found abandoned outside the Virunga National Park.

Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center has a skilled and passionate team that looks after these rare endangered species and is dedicated to seeing the center growing to a bigger home. The team of rangers has vet doctors, housekeepers, chefs, and more skilled staff.

The rangers communicate with the gorillas using a combination of gestures and voice commands which is not a problem at all since they are very intelligent and they can understand anything. However, you can hear by their tone of voice if they’re scared of something, if they’re worried if there’s something wrong with the food if they feel they’re in danger. There are different sounds they make and these are very easier to understand by the rangers because they lived together for so long and quite good at recognizing their mood. The Orphanage Gorillas are under surveillance 24/7, some time they enjoy their liberty and play within the compound without serious supervision.