Orphaned gorilla babies return home

RUMANGABO, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Two young mountain gorillas rescued as babies have been moved to a 2.5-acre forest refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ndakasi and Ndeze moved Dec. 1 into a custom-built sanctuary near their biological gorilla family at Virunga National Park in Rumangabo.


The female gorillas were rescued after their mothers and other members of their family were slaughtered by rebels in 2007, the University of California-Davis said in a release Thursday.

The university's Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project cared for the orphans after they were rescued and moved to a temporary compound in Goma, said veterinarian Mike Cranfield, who heads the project.

It's too soon to know if Ndakasi and Ndeze ever will live free, he said. Ndakasi, Ndeze and two other orphans are the only mountain gorillas in captivity in the world. An estimated 750 mountain gorillas are believed to survive worldwide, most of them in the Congo.

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