The close proximity of Mikeno lodge to the Senkwekwe Center means guests have the opportunity to visit the four orphan gorillas (Kaboko, Maisha, Ndeze and Ndekasi) living in a spacious natural enclosure with viewing platforms around the periphery.
Meet the Orphans
For more information on each of the individual orphans who are housed at the Senkwekwe Centre please see the links listed below:
Virunga’s Orphan Gorillas
It is inevitable that some of the Mountain Gorillas in any given population will die early from disease or misadventure. It is also inevitable that some of those gorillas will be parents and that they will leave behind young that cannot be fed and cared for by their families. Such is life, sadly. But here in Virunga the problem of orphan gorillas has a unique and terrible complexion. Many of the gorillas that we have buried in the Gorilla Cemetery were killed by humans so the number of helpless orphans in the gorilla population is unnaturally – dangerously – high.
Sometimes people kill gorillas inadvertently; by setting a snare for an antelope near a gorilla family for example. Many of our gorillas, like little Nsekanabo, have died as a result of injuries sustained by getting caught in a trap meant for something else. Sometimes gorillas, like Rugabo, are caught in the all too frequent fighting between armed groups and end up being shot. Still more have died because, for political reasons, people have very deliberately killed them.
War and poverty have devastated this region and have inflicted massive collateral damage on the Mountain Gorilla population. If the Mountain Gorilla is not going to die as a species then we, as conservationists, need to act to reduce that damage. We need to take care of the orphans. ICCN made great strides in 2009 when theybuilt the Senkwekwe Centre: a wonderful orphanage in the heart of the park at Rumangabo. But there is plenty left to do.
If you are interested in supporting the Park’s work in the conservation of Mountain Gorillas please visit: