Opinion: A gorilla’s life and death, in 2 viral photos

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Orphaned mountain gorilla Ndakasi lies in the arms of her caregiver Andre Bauma on Sept. 21, shortly before her death.

Brent Stirton/Getty Images

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Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A mountain gorilla, famous for a selfie, has died in her caretaker’s arms

They changed each other’s lives.

«She was tiny, she only weighed a couple of kilos,» he told a 2014 BBC program. «We shared the same bed, I played with her, I fed her… «

Ndakasi grew up to be strong and healthy — she liked Pringles, the potato chip — but stayed playful.

«Whenever she sees me she climbs on my back like she would with her mother,» Bauma told the BBC. He became the head of the orphanage at the park, and would spend 3 weeks there, one week at home.

«My human family understand that my work with the gorillas is important,» he said. «I have a share of love that I give to my gorilla family and a share of love that I give to my human family.»

This week another photo went around the world. Ndakasi, looking weary and nearing death, was curled up with her great head, her eyes soft, on Bauma’s strong shoulder. They looked like two beings giving solace, company and comfort to each other at a time of need.

Bauma said in a statement from the orphanage at Virunga National Park that knowing Ndakasi has «helped me to understand the connection between humans and great apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them …

«I loved her like a child,» he said. «Her cheerful personality brought a smile to my face every time I interacted with her.»

Two strong, playful spirits in the world who found each another.

  • Viral Photo
  • gorilla
  • animals


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