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Lesenjina Gorilla Still Missing in Virunga Park

Lesenjina Gorilla Still Missing in Virunga Park



Lesenjina was the name of the first female Environment Minister in our country during the Mobutu era. Lesenjina was actually quite an aggressive gorilla – when we tried to get close she would grunt as if you show her disapproval. Same would happen if we approached any of her children.

Lesenjina was always in the Kabirizi family, but was not the dominant female. She always preferred to be near Kabirizi however.

Sadly Lesenjina disappeared in June 2007, at the same time that Nsekuye was murdered. We believe that Lesenjina was also murdered at the same time – but we never found any bones or other remains. So we think she was injured and then went to die somewhere else, somewhere we did not search. This is not too dissimilar to Macibiri who was killed during the Rugendo massacre but we only found her remains 4 weeks later.

Lesejina’s disappearance was tragic. She also left 3 children – one of which, Mutazimiza, has needed the support of her siblings to get through this challenging time. We hope to find Lesenjina one day, but time is running out.

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