Beloved celebrity gorilla who starred in viral selfie dies in arms of rescuer

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A world-famous gorilla who starred in a hilarious selfie has died in the arms of the man who rescued him.

Ndakasi became a celebrity in 2019 after appearing in a selfie taken by animal rescuer Andre Bauma.

The 12-year-old gorilla puffed her chest out in the funny photo alongside buddy Ndeze.

Mr Bauma rescued Ndakasi after her mum was killed by an armed militia in Virunga National Park, Congo, the oldest in Africa.

For more than a decade, Andre and his colleagues cared for Ndakasi and helped her recover from the trauma of losing her mum.

Because of that, she could never be released back into the wild.

But Ndakasi did enjoy a happy life with Ndeze and other orphaned mountain gorillas at the park's Senkwekwe Center.

In a moving statement Virunga National Park wrote: "It is with heartfelt sadness that Virunga announces the death of beloved orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakasi.

"On the evening of 26 September, following a prolonged illness in which her condition rapidly deteriorated, Ndakasi took her final breath in the loving arms of her caretaker and lifelong friend, Andre Bauma."

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The national park also remembered the viral World Earth Day selfie which made Ndakasi go viral.

They wrote: "The photo features Ndakasi and her partner-in-crime, Ndeze, both standing relaxed on two feet, bellies out with cheeky grins.

"Their playful nature was a reminder to the world of how much we see ourselves in these animals and it’s one of the reasons Andre Bauma will miss her so dearly."

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Andre added to the heightened feelings with his own beautiful message posted on the park website to remember Ndakasi.

He wrote: "“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.”

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"I am proud to have called Ndakasi my friend.

"I loved her like a child and her cheerful personality brought a smile to my face every time I interacted with her."

  • Animals

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