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!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

2 Gorilla Babes, Ndeze and Ndakasi Move To Their New Sanctuary

The only two baby mountain gorillas in the world in captivity, orphaned in 2007 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the slaughter of their mothers in the wild, moved yesterday to a new sanctuary within the country's Virunga National Park, the Congolese Wildlife Authority said today.

Ndeze and Ndakasi, the 2 1/2-year-old female orphans, had been living in the city of Goma outside the park since mid 2007 because of the conflict in eastern Congo, the agency said in a statement.

"The successful transfer of these orphaned mountain gorillas from unsuitable conditions in Goma to the Senkwekwe Centre here in Rumangabo is a big victory in the fight to ensure the survival of the subspecies," said Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga National Park.

"But we have not yet won the war to protect the gorillas or Virunga from the many threats that continue to endanger them both. We must not forget that Virunga remains arguably the most threatened park in Africa."

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Virunga is home to 200 of the world's mountain gorillas and a small population of eastern lowland gorillas.

Formerly known as Albert National Park, Virunga covers 3,000 square miles (7,800 square kilometers) in the eastern part of the Congo adjacent to Uganda and Rwanda. The region has been devastated by war and poverty for many years and there has been armed conflict in the park. Many rangers and gorillas have been killed.

Virunga National Park is managed by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).

The orphans have been moved to a 16,000-square-feet pen within the 2.5-acre Senkwekwe Centre, pending the completion of a larger perimeter wall. The wall, as well as visitation platforms, an education center and veterinary facilities, are expected to be completed by March 2010.

"The Senkwekwe Centre will provide a cleaner and more hygienic environment, that will enable us, as vets, to keep the gorilla orphans healthier," said Mike Cranfield, director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. "The psychological wellbeing of the orphans will be enhanced by living in their natural habitat."

Center named after murdered silverback

The Congolese Wildlife Authority started building the Senkwekwe Centre, named after the silverback that was murdered by unknown assailants in July 2007, a year ago, but work was stopped following a rebel invasion of the park, the Congolese Wildlife Authority said in its statement.

The Congolese Wildlife Authority launched a campaign in mid-November to raise U.S.$100,000 for the completion of the Senwkekwe Centre. All funds raised by December 24 will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the United Nations Foundation.

To find out how to make a donation and to see more pictures and read about the relocation of the orphaned gorillas, visit Gorilla.CD, the Virunga National Park Web site.


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