In 2019, Ndakasi went Viral after a selfie with Ndeze, another Gorilla, and their park ranger, Mathieu Shamavu. Ndakasi got the most attention in the selfie for looking over her left shoulder, peering into the camera with her chin down like a human would when taking a selfie.
Although many didn't know her before that time, her dearest friend and caretaker, Andre Bauma, found her first at 2 months old on the lifeless body of her birth mother, and their friendship had since blossomed.
She was later taken to Virunga park, Senkweke Centre in 2019, where she spent the final days of her life.
The park explained that she battled with a prolonged illness that deteriorated her condition until her final breath. Ndakasi spent 14 years of her life bringing a smile to everyone at the park. They had taken to Instagram to announce the loss of the lovely creature who passed away on the 26th of September, sharing heartbreaking pictures of her final moments with her human friend, Bauma, who held her hand reassuringly as she leaned her head in for support.
“It was a privilege to support and care for such a loving creature, especially knowing the trauma Ndakasi suffered at a very young age. “One could say that she took after her mother, Nyiransekuye, whose name means ‘someone happy to welcome others’,” Bauma told the Media.
He further explained how much impact their friendship had made on him by making him protective of other endangered mountain gorillas.
“It was Ndakasi’s sweet nature and intelligence that helped me to understand the connection between humans and Great Apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them", he said.
While reminiscing on the moments spent together, Bauma expressed his delight in their friendship and how fondly everyone in Senkwekwe will miss her.
“I am proud to have called Ndakasi my friend. She will be missed by all of us at Virunga but we are forever grateful for the richness Ndakasi brought to our lives during her time at Senkwekwe.”
Mountain Gorillas are still one of the endangered species. Friendships like Ndakasi and Bauma will always serve as a beautiful reminder that they ought to be treated with as much dignity and respect.