The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Help The Gorillas

Filed under (Gorilla Orphans) by Samantha @ 1:30 pm

This post is from Dr Eddy, the Gorilla Doctor who cares for Ndeze & Ndakasi…

The story started with the gorilla massacres of June and July, 2007. The Kabirizi and Rugendo gorilla groups both lost members. In the Kabirizi gorilla group there was an adult female gorilla with a 2-month old baby. Her name was N’Sekuye, and in June 2007 she was killed by gunshot and her baby was left clinging to her dead body. In the Rugendo gorilla group, 5 of 12 family members were killed by gunshot in July 2007. The dead included the Silverback Senkwekwe and an adult female Safari, who had a 5-month old infant. This infant was also left clinging to her mother’s body. This is how Ndakasi and Ndeze came to be orphans.

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Examining Ndakasi in June 2007, just after she was orphaned

It was a stressful and busy time for the Gorilla Doctors. When Ndakasi was found clinging to her mother on June 10th, 2007, there were many discussions between ICCN, the Gorilla Doctors, DFGFI and other conservation stakeholders, and the decision was made to try to save her life. She was placed in the care of ranger Andre Bauma, who has been with her ever since. She traveled with Andre to Goma, which is when I first saw her.

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Andre took care of Ndeze from the very beginning

She was stressed, dehydrated and weak, and all involved felt there was little hope for her survival. She received intensive medical care and Andre carried her round the clock, even sleeping with her at night. Kambale Ndakasi joined Andre in caring for Ndeze. She continued to be weak, and soon developed pneumonia. We, the Gorilla Doctors, worked hard to save her, even placing her in an oxygen tent supplied by the UN hospital/MONUC in Goma. It took 3 weeks of intensive care, but she recovered completely.

When Ndeze was orphaned and left to die, she stayed with her mother’s body until she was picked up by Mukunda, the blackback gorilla in the group. He tried to care for her, carrying her on his back and trying to keep her away from danger – moving away and becoming very stressed when he saw rangers. The Gorilla Doctors and ICCN decided to intervene because experience shows that a baby gorilla of this age cannot survive without her mother. Ndeze was brought to Goma where she was cared for just as Ndakasi was, but in a different place at first to be sure they did not share diseases. She was very thin, dehydrated and weak, and very stressed. Two more rangers were brought in for her care, Patric Karabaranga and Alfred. She responded well to her caretakers, and did not suffer any diseases like Ndakasi had. She began to recover from her trauma.

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Yesterday - examing Ndeze

After being alone for about a month to be sure she was healthy, Ndeze was introduced to Ndakasi, and they have been close friends since. The Gorilla Doctors have worked with the caretakers to provide appropriate diet and care for these little orphans. Ndakasi is now a curious, playful, strong, and sometimes stubborn little gorilla, and Ndeze is playful and joyful, but careful around new people and things. They are happy and healthy little gorillas. But in order to stay healthy and develop normally they need to move to a more natural environment.

The Senkwekwe Center is just the place. It is isolated from town and the facility is large and very similar to natural habitat. There is natural forest food and enough trees for Ndeze and Ndakasi to learn natural feeding behavior and romp in the trees. They will still have the same loyal caretakers – Andre will travel with them during the move. As their doctor for the past two years I feel very happy, relaxed and hopeful. Now they will be in a suitable place which is very similar to their natural habitat. Ndakasi and Ndeze will have a nice trees to climb, very fresh forest food, cool and quite place, cool weather, clean and fresh air, very little pollution in their new environment. They can learn to be more like their wild family.

I do believe that Ndeze and Ndakasi are aware that I’m their brother; when I visit them they are always happy to see me, and they think that when I’m around they can do what ever they want as they know I will protect them. They climb on my body even after injecting or administration other drugs to them, so they seem to forgive me easily!

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Ndakasi tries to grab the syringe!

At the end of the day, I’m convinced that these very close cousins of ours will be healthier than they are now once they get to the Senkwekwe Centre, and they will have long, healthy lives. The Gorilla Doctors team and the caretakers are looking forward to being able to relax a bit.

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