The introduction has so far gone well and it was fascinating to see the reactions of the three different gorillas to each other. None had seen another of their species in a long time- in Mapendo’s case, more than 18 months since her rescue in January 2008.
As you can see from the video, Amani was very confident and happy to finally have a playmate!
This may take some time...
The rescued baby gorilla Amani is going to have a gorilla playmate soon. She has gone from strength to strength and has recovered well from her bullet wound. Veterinary tests on her and the male gorilla “Kighoma” being cared for by DFGFI have come up clear, so the decision has been made to put them together.
So later this week Amani is going to move in with Kighoma. It has been months since she was rescued at Goma airport and was probably in captivity for months before that, so it has been a long time since she has seen another gorilla.
It will be very interesting to see how they react to each other, but since they are about the same age and size, we hope that they will become playmates and good companions.
As always, we will tell you know how it goes right here on the blog. In the meantime, here are some pics I took of playful Amani this morning:
Amani putting weight on her injured leg
Andre tells me she is even making nests by folding over branches, just as she would have seen her mother do in the wild. The strength and determination of this little gorilla is impressive…
This may take some time...
Here is the latest video from the rescued baby gorilla Amani:
This may take some time...
They were able to determine that the wound in her right leg was probably due to a gunshot, but thankfully the bullet is not still inside. There is some bone damage, but Dr Magda was able to remove more bits of bone and patched up the leg again. Read the full story »
For a change, there isn’t war on the news, but peace. Or should I say “Amani,” which means peace in Swahili and is also the name of the baby female gorilla rescued last week.
A number of TV news shows this evening have or will be featuring segments of our video of Amani’s rescue. So far it has been on the evening news on TF1 (for you Francophones out there: scroll forward to 27m20s) ; BBC News homepage (where it is right now fourth most watched video: help us make it first!); and the homepage of Yahoo. Basically, we gave a tape to Reuters for distribution and many broadcasters have chosen to show it.
It has been exactly one week since we rescued Amani from traffickers at Goma Airport. The investigation is ongoing, which is why I cannot yet reveal certain details.
However, what I can say is that we are finding out more and more about how this poor gorilla ended up at the bottom of luggage in a plane. For example, we have uncovered this picture, which shows Amani in the room where she was being kept by traffickers in Walikale:
This picture makes it clear what conditions Amani was being kept in (not sure for how long, but vets reckon several months) while the traffickers tried to find a client. It also explains why whe was in such bad shape when we found her. Read the full story »
The baby gorilla we rescued on Sunday is doing well under the care of Andre and Thierry, with Dr Eddy and Sandy Jones from MGVP keeping a close eye on her progress. She is eating well and gaining confidence.
Hot off the press everyone: A baby gorilla has been seized from animal traffickers by ICCN following a 3-month undercover investigation to bust an international wildlife smuggling ring. This operation was led by Emmanuel with the participation of a key group of Rangers and Pierre.
So Mapendo has arrived safely to Goma. She was driven early this morning from Mutsora in the park to Beni airport, which takes about 90 minutes. (See here for map).
Then we hired a plane (with your donations) to take her to Goma.
This is the plane Mapendo flew in with Dr Eddy and Andre. This is not at Beni airport; I just happened to take the same plane in December. It is operated by Aviation Without Borders.
Jospin from MGVP picked up Andre, Dr Eddy and Mapendo on the tarmac. I waited with Dr Lucy and Dr Magda. We figured the less people on the tarmac the better. Goma airport is notorious for officialdom seeking to complicate matters for financial gain!
Dr Lucy, Dr Eddy, Andre, Jospin & Dr Magda - all relieved Mapendo arrived safely and with no hitches.
This is where Mapendo had to be for the flight and for the 5-minute drive from the airport to her new home at the DFGF(I) office, where she will be cared for not far from Ndeze and Ndakasi. This will considerably facilitate the work of Dr Lucy and her team.
She had to go in the crate (which had lots of air holes) simply because Andre was not sure how she would react to the car and air travel. Mapendo could end up harming herself. I am sure the pilot would not travel either with a loose gorilla in the plane. Animals often feel safer in a contained space, much like dogs and cats, when they travel. In addition, although Dr Jacques had done all the documentation, it is just easy if the aforementioned airport officials do not see anything in the crate. Better all round.
So Dr Lucy will blog in a couple days about how Mapendo is settling in - and what she thinks of her new home. And she will continue to blog about Mapendo’s care and progress.
We are organizing for forest food for Mapendo to be brought on a weekly basis from Mutsora. So we need to hire someone to collect it, then drive it the 90 minutes to Beni, then put it on a free flight to Goma, then pick it up in Goma to take to Mapendo. Dr Lucy tells me Mapendo will benefit enormously from proper forest food - ie not fruits from the market that have been contaminated by chemicals or humans. And with the security as it is round here, it is not possible right now to do this.
So thank you for your support. I know many of you have donated. Thank you. Monthly donations are also terrific - as it guarantees a certain income for Mapendo’s care. As I said yesterday these can be made on this blog or the Gorilla Doctors blog.
Thank you everyone for your kind words and encouragement. Samantha
Update at 7pm DR Congo time: My colleague Ephrem has just arrived in Goma. He was there when Mapendo was put on the plane this morning. He gave me these photos that I thought would interest you.
Andre checks on Mapendo when they get to Beni.
Arriving at the airport.
Figuring out how to get the crate on the plane.
Dr Eddy and Andre lift Mapendo into the plane.
Finally - ready for take off.