About Matabishi

Matabishi is Senkwekwe’s self-proclaimed silverback. Being the only male of the group, he was destined for the role and is slowly growing in stature and competency. Despite his strength, both of character and in physical terms, Matabishi is a gentle giant, who is instinctively caring and generous as a leader.

Like all gorillas in the sanctuary, Matabishi has been through some tough times, the difference being that nobody knows exactly what led him to be orphaned, or why he was left alone in a field outside Virunga National Park in June, 2013. It is suspected, due to the injuries on his back, that he had been restrained by a rope, possibly by poachers seeking to sell him on as an exotic pet before being spooked.

Matabishi's Arrival

Following his discovery, Virunga’s rangers slept in the cornfield with Matabishi to protect the infant until the Gorilla doctor team arrived and transported him to the Senkwekwe centre for a medical examination. Fortunately, his injuries were not life threatening and he was able to be introduced fairly quickly to the sanctuary. The matriarch at the time, Maisha, who sadly passed away in the summer of 2017 following health complications, instantly welcomed the newcomer into the troop, allowing him to integrate rapidly.

Since none of the known mountain gorilla families in the area appeared to be missing any infants and it was pure luck that he was discovered at all, the jubilant park rangers asked for the gorilla to be named Matabishi, which in Swahili means “bonus”.

The Senkwekwe Centre
Photo credit:

Matabishi is beginning to grow into his responsibilities, slowly developing as a 'Silverback'.

Andre Bauma Head Caretaker, Senkwekwe Centre

Your adoption will help care for the orphan gorillas of Senkwekwe as well as the wild mountain gorillas that call Virunga their home.

    01
    $10
  • 01
    $10

    Funds an enrichment activity for our orphan gorillas.

  • 02
    $25
  • 02
    $25

    Supports the conservation of wild gorillas by funding a gorilla tracker for one day

  • 03
    $75
  • 03
    $75

    Provides one week of food and supplements for an orphan gorilla

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