Another baby lowland “Grauer’s” gorilla has been recovered from animal traffickers near Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The baby is an 8-12 month old female that was turned over to park officials by local villagers. Sadly, the baby’s mother was killed during the abduction and the same is thought to be true of the family’s dominant silverback. This is most often the case because gorilla families will defend their young to the death.
Virunga Pilot, Anthony Caere (left), Gorilla Doctor Martin Kabuyaya (with gorilla), and Virunga National Park Director, Emmanuel de Merode (right), during flight back to the Senkwekwe Center in Rumangabo.
At the request of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a team from Virunga National Park flew down to collect the baby and take her to Virunga’s Senkweke Center for rehabilitation. The baby, who has since been named Lulingu, is now under the care of Babo Ntakarimaze, one of the most skilled caregivers at the center. Babo has a gift for making gorillas feel safe again, which is critical to their recovery. In addition to Babo, Gorilla Doctor Martin Kabuyaya has been closely monitoring Lulingu’s health and through their combined care, she seems to be recovering remarkably well. What no one can say, though, is how she’ll will be affected in the long-term by terrible things she witnessed during her abduction.
Lulingu will spend a six-month quarantine period with Babo before being turned over to the GRACE Gorilla Rehabilitation Center for long-term care. She will join Kalonge who was recently transferred from the Senkwekwe Center to GRACE. Until then, Lulingu will receive the care and companionship of her human caregivers 24-hours a day.
The cage used by the animal traffickers to confine Lulingu
Babo and Lulingu are now inseparable. Like the other caregivers, he will see more of Lulingu than his own family during the next six months.