Virunga National Park is the oldest national park in Africa and boasts awe-inspiring sights and a broad array of animal and plant species. But the most treasured of the park’s inhabits is its mountain gorilla population – the only one in the world! There are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild and as civil war and oil interests ravage Virunga National Park, these surviving gorillas are directly in harm’s way. In addition, the mountain gorilla population is at high risk from poachers and traffickers from the illegal wildlife trade
Luckily, in the face of this destruction, there are many kind people working tirelessly to protect the mountain gorilla. And just this week, rangers at The Senkwekwe Center, the only facility in the world that cares for orphaned mountain gorillas, saved a baby gorilla from a ghastly fate in the illegal wildlife trade.
Baby Lulingo the gorilla, who is less than a year old, is one of the many wildlife trade victims at the park. Tragically, the baby’s mother was killed during the abduction and the same is thought to be true of the family’s dominant Silverback. Traffickers often kill the parents of baby animals in the wild so that the young are easier to steal without their protective parents defending them.
Poor Lulingo watched as her parents were brutally killed.
This is the cage used by traffickers to confine her.
She is now under the care of Bobo, one of the parks most skilled and experienced caretakers.
Check out the video below to see the rescue team in action.
Lulingo will be under the care and companionship of her human guardians 24-hours a day. When she is old enough to join other gorillas, she will be transferred to GRACE Gorilla Rehabilitation Center for long-term care. To learn more about the work of these brave rescuers, check out Virunga on Netflix and learn how you can take action to protect gorillas here.
All image source: Virunga National Park