Gorilla from viral selfie dies in arms of man who rescued her as an infant
She will be missed
The Gorilla whose selfie with a park ranger went viral has died in the arms of the ranger who rescued her from the same militia who gunned down her mother in the Congo.
The orphaned ape Ndakasi was pictured once more as she took her last breath while being held by her 'lifelong friend' Andre Bauma, 49. Ndakasi died aged 14, surrounded by her caretakers at Virunga National Park in eastern Congo on 26 September.
Ndakasi was saved by Virunga rangers at only two months old after they found her by her mother's body, who had been killed by militia hours earlier.
Due to the trauma experienced during her mother's death, Ndakasi was unable to return to the wild.
She was transferred to the park's Senkwekwe Center with another gorilla baby Ndeze. The duo became social media stars after they posed for a photo with park ranger Mathieu Shamavu in 2019.
A statement from the park said that their 'beloved' Ndakasi died on September 26 following a 'prolonged illness in which her condition rapidly deteriorated'.
The ape died in the arms of Bauma, who had rescued her over a decade earlier.
The iconic photo happened after ranger Shamavu noticed the two Gorilla's mimicking his movements.
Upon their first meeting, the ranger had held Ndakasi to give her warmth and comfort. Now, In her final photo, Ndakasi's head rests on Bauma's chest once more.
"It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age," Bauma said.
"One could say that she took after her mother, Nyiransekuye, whose name means "someone happy to welcome others"."
He noted that it was Ndakasi that allowed him to see how connected apes and humans are. Her presence in his life was a driving force behind Bauma's work, he says and concludes by saying she will be missed by everyone that knew her.
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