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After visiting the gorillas in the wild, tourists who book with Mikeno lodge have an opportunity to visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage. This is the only Mountain gorilla orphanage in the world and about 7 individuals call it home. The center also rehabilitates Eastern Lowland gorilla orphans for a while before relocating them to the Eastern Lowland gorilla orphanage known as the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center. The center was named after a giant silverback known as Senkwekwe. Senkwekwe was killed by poachers as he attempted to protect his family and recover an infant captured by animal traffickers.

His death and the capture of other infant gorillas laid the foundation for the establishment of this center. The Center is set on a stretch of forest allowing the primates to experience the same conditions of their wild relatives. The Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage welcomes volunteers who are interested in learning more about mountain gorillas. If you are enthusiastic about gorilla conservation, you can sponsor one of the gorilla orphans or donate to the Sanctuary. Visiting the Center is free to tourists residing in the luxury Mikeno Lodge.

Gorillas at Senkwenkwe

Ndakasi is from the Kabirizi family and was found between Bukima and Gatovu, in the Mikeno sector. Rangers found Ndakasi clinging to her dead mother, who was killed by poachers. This poor orphan spent several days this way before being rescued. I have been caring for her since June 2007 and I am happy to say that she is finally healthy and living a carefree life.

Ndeze is the daughter of Senkwekwe, the silverback leader of the Rugendo family who was massacred in July 2007. It was the photo of Senkwekwe’s body being carried by Rangers that made the world realize that terrible things were happening to our gorillas. As the massacre was happening, Ndeze’s older brother must have escaped into the jungle with her. Although he protected her, he could not feed her because she was not yet weaned. With every passing day, she became weaker and closer to death. Luckily, they were discovered and rescued by a Ranger patrol. When found, Ndeze was so weak that she could barely move. After days of close medical attention and food, she began regaining her strength.