at the Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Center
About this Project
Your donations go directly to the care of these special beings.
With the southern sector once again secure, a team set out to raise money to build a care facility at park headquarters in Rumangabo. The site chosen for the facility was perfect: lush forest, teaming with wildlife, expansive – and safe. As 2009 drew to a close, park staff kicked off an intense online campaign, and in a matter of two months, raised $211,000. The World Heritage Organization matched every dollar donated by caring individuals around the world. The Murry Foundation and Howard G. Buffett Foundation also provided critical funding. The “Senkwekwe Center” was soon built and the orphans living in Goma were promptly transferred to their new home. The center is named after the dominant silverback of the Rugendo group, who was murdered in 2007, along with three other members of his family.
At the end of 2010, two more orphan mountain gorillas, Maisha and Koboko, were transferred to the Senkwekwe Center. They came from Rwanda where they had been living in a small facility. The four gorillas settled in nicely and soon became a tightly knit family. Tragically, Koboko died during the latest conflict. Although the official cause of death was attributed to a gastrological infection, the sounds of mortar fire and machine guns severely stressed Koboko, and likely led to the collapse of his immune system. The latest addition to the Senkwekwe Center is Matabishi, a young male that was found alone and outside the park boundary near Bikenge. Poachers who feared they would be arrested by Virunga’s rangers likely released Matabishi. After a 6-month quarantine, Matabishi has joined Ndeze, Ndakasi, and Maisha.
The Senkwekwe Center also plays a critical role in rehabilitating orphan eastern lowland gorillas confiscated from animal traffickers. Once rehabilitated, these gorilla orphans are transferred to the GRACE facility for eastern lowland gorillas.
Meet the Orphans
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Ihirwe means “luck.” You might think there’s some irony to calling a baby mountain gorilla “lucky” who was...January 6, 2013
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These two baby Eastern Lowland Gorillas are in quarantine at Virunga National Park headquarters of Rumangabo in DR...January 1, 2013
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The electric fence on the orphan gorilla enclosure desperately needs a complete replacement repair. Each time it has quit...January 1, 2013