About Matabishi

Matabishi is Senkwekwe’s only male mountain gorilla. Since his arrival in 2013, he has continually grown in both competency and stature, leading to his natural self-proclamation as the group’s dominant silverback. Despite his strength, both of character and in physical terms, Matabishi is instinctively gentle, offering care and generosity to the rest of the troop when the time calls for it.

Like all of Virunga’s orphans, Matabishi has without doubt experienced great hardship on his journey to the Senkwekwe centre. Yet his case differs from his companions, in that the circumstances which led him to be abandoned in a cornfield in June 2013 are completely unknown. It is suspected, due to the injuries found on his back, that Matabishi had been captured and restrained, possibly by poachers who may have sought to trade him illegally as an exotic pet, before being disturbed and taking flight.

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

Matabishi's Arrival

Upon the discovery of the infant, Virunga’s rangers remained in the cornfield overnight, providing comfort and protection until the veterinary team arrived the following morning. After being transported to Senkwekwe, a medical examination concluded the gorilla’s injuries were not life threatening, allowing for a quick recovery and introduction into the sanctuary. The matriarch at the time, Maisha, who sadly passed away in the summer of 2017 following health complications, instantly welcomed the newcomer, allowing for a rapid integration into the troop.

Following the discovery of the cornfield orphan, inquiries were made to try and establish its origins. Since no infants were missing from the known mountain gorilla families in the area, it appeared to be pure good fortune that led to the ape’s discovery. Thus, the jubilant park rangers requested the new addition 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

Mountain Gorilla Sanctuary

Virunga National Park’s headquarters at Rumangabo is home to the Senkwekwe Centre, the world’s only facility for orphaned mountain gorillas. With expert staff who provide daily care for the orphans, who were each separated from their family due to the impact of poaching, the Senkwekwe Centre is a unique sanctuary offering the gorillas the chance to lead happy and secure lives in their forested enclosure.

Explore

Learn more about the gorilla orphans project and our efforts to protect the gorilla habitat.