A mountain gorilla, Ndakasi who became internet famous for posing for a selfie with forest rangers has died of an illness that troubled her for a long time. She was 14 years old. She died on 26 September after her condition rapidly deteriorated.
An image of Ndakasi posing in the background of a selfie taken by the rangers at Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had gone viral in 2019. She was seen standing on two feet with hands relaxed on her side.
Ndakasi was also featured in shows and the documentary film Virunga.
The Park told The Guardian that the orphaned gorilla was under the care of the Senkwekwe Center for more than a decade. "She took her final breath in the loving arms of her caretaker and lifelong friend Andre Bauma."
Rangers at the park found Ndakasi when she was two months old. She was clinging to the dead body of her mother. Bauma had comforted her on the first night, and their friendship continued all these years. Ndakasi's mother was gunned down by an armed militia.
"It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature. It was her sweet nature and intelligence that helped me to understand the connection between humans and great apes. And why we should do everything in our power to protect them, said Bauma. He added that he was proud to have called Ndakasi a friend.
Virunga national park is home to several mountain gorillas that are the last of their kind. The park has around 700 rangers working to save them in a region that is haunted by armed conflict and instability. Ndakasi was moved to the Senkwekwe Center in 2009, where she lived with other orphaned gorillas who were too vulnerable to return to the wild.