Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

Explore EPHREM BALOLE, MANAGER OF VIRUNGA SARL, RECEIVES HIS PHD

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

Explore FALLEN RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

Explore VIRUNGA COFFEE LAUNCHES!

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

Explore FALLEN RANGERS FUND

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

Explore FALLEN RANGERS FUND

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

Explore RANGERS PROJECT

Group 2 Created with Sketch.
01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

Explore FALLEN RANGERS FUND

Group 2 Created with Sketch.

Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

Learn more

Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

August 12, 2018
Park News

Sad news on orphan gorillas from the Senkwekwe Center in Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is deeply saddened to announce that one of the Senkwekwe Center’s orphaned mountain gorillas, Maisha, has passed away after a long battle with ill health.


Virunga National Park is deeply saddened to announce that one of the Senkwekwe Center’s orphaned mountain gorillas, Maisha, has passed away after a long battle with ill health.


Maisha, born in 2001, was rescued by Virunga National Park rangers when she was three years old after being taken from her family by poachers. She was extremely thin and malnourished when she was found, and was turned over to the care of the Gorilla Doctors. Despite this difficult start, Maisha grew in strength with the support of the Gorilla Doctors at their Center in Kinigi, Rwanda. After the completion of the Senkwekwe Center in 2010, Maisha was moved back to her home country of DRC, where she lived in the peace and security alongside the Center’s other gorillas – Kaboko, Ndakasi, Ndeze and Matabishi. Maisha built an inseparable bond with her human carers, including Center manager André Bauma.


André paid tribute to Maisha, saying, “She had the spirit of a leader. As the alpha female of the group, she kept order between the gorillas as well as protecting the rangers and myself in our daily work. Sadly she had health issues for many months and the doctors did all they could. She was part of my family. In African culture, when a family member dies, we concentrate on those that remain to ensure the continuation of life. Death is part of life and we don’t have to be discouraged, but Maisha will still be dearly missed.”


The Senkwekwe Center remains the only facility in the world that cares for orphaned mountain gorillas. Despite the challenges in caring for the species in captivity, the Center continues to collaborate with key veterinary organisations from around the world to ensure the highest standards of care for the gorillas.


Dr Mike Cranfield, Co-Director of Gorilla Doctors, stated, “We’ve worked very closely with the carers at the Senkwekwe Centre to try and get Maisha well. Unfortunately, after bringing in experts, we could not come up with a conclusive diagnosis and after a very long illness, her health issues got the better of her and we lost her. A full post mortem is being carried out, to help with future medical care and treatment of gorillas. The Senkwekwe Centre’s three other gorillas are thriving.”


Virunga National Park’s Director and Chief Warden, Emmanuel de Merode, also commented, “This is devastating news for all our staff at the Senkwekwe Center. They have been dedicated to caring for Maisha, as well as the center’s other mountain gorillas for many many, years. We’re very proud of the pioneering work that the Virunga National Park staff undertake in caring for these magnificent animals, both in the wild, and at the Senkwekwe Center.”

Join the Effort to Protect Virunga National Park

You can make a difference by joining our community of dedicated individuals who aim to protect Africa’s oldest national park and bring peace and prosperity for the four million people who depend on it.

Related Articles

Park News

December 1, 2018

Support Virunga this holiday season

Park News

August 14, 2018

Virunga National Park ends 2015 with an energy milestone

Park News

August 12, 2018

Severely injured baby mountain gorilla rescued

Park News

August 12, 2018

Virunga celebrates the births of 7 baby mountain gorillas in 6 weeks!

Park News

August 12, 2018

Virunga’s Bageni and Humba groups welcome new additions

Park News

May 9, 2018

Virunga welcomes another newborn mountain gorilla

Park News

February 11, 2018

Virunga National Park rangers discover a newborn gorilla in the Bageni family