Mapendo in Goma

Dr. Magda and I traveled to Goma for the day yesterday to meet the orphan team at the airport, check Mapendo briefly (she’ll have a complete examination once she settles into her new quarantine area), and perform the necropsy on Vumilia with Drs. Jacques and Eddy.

Eddy Andre and Mapendo arrive Goma Jan 14 2008.jpg
Dr. Eddy was very happy to be back. He said the plane ride with Andre and Mapendo (in the box) went without a hitch; Dr. Jacques took a separate flight back as the plane was too small for the vets, the live gorilla, and the corpse of Vumilia.

Eddy Andre and Mapendo arrive Goma Jan 14 2008-1.jpg

Mapendo’s outdoor yard still needs a few finishing touches, plus we agreed she should have a quiet first day, so she was released inside a small, quiet room – with a mattress for Andre. She also has two new caretakers ready to help, and they’ll stay with her in shifts.

Eddy Andre and Mapendo arrive Goma Jan 14 2008-2.jpg

We remain surprised and saddened by Vumilia’s death. Even so, everyone smiled when Mapendo calmly emerged from her crate. . .and climbed into Andre’s arms.

Eddy Andre and Mapendo arrive Goma Jan 14 2008-4.jpg

Mapendo looked bright and alert, though still very thin. We spent only a few minutes with her, keeping our distance with masks and gloves and coveralls so as not to introduce any new diseases to her (or acquire any, since we don’t yet know what killed Vumilia.) We knew that Mapendo was in good hands with Andre, so we moved on. Our priority for the day was the post mortem on Vumilia, which we completed with Dr. Jacques and Eddy. It will be some time before we report on our findings. We checked in at the end of the day with Andre who reported that Mapendo had settled in quickly and eaten well.



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  1. Posted January 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Dr. Lucy, for the update and pictures. I’m glad to know that Mapendo traveled calmly and has bonded with Andre. I hope she does well and doesn’t suffer from whatever killed little Vumilia. Did you see Ndeze and Ndakasi while you were there?


  2. Posted January 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this very needed good news! I hope that Mapendo can be in good condition, please keep posting about this baby! and thank you for all you do to help her!

  3. Pam/Shell Beach CA
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Good news. Thank you for the update.

  4. Christine C.
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Dr. Lucy!!! I am so happy to hear that tihngs are going well so far. Mapendo actually looks content in the last picture of Andre, which is too wonderful for words. Please let Andre know that he has countless fans out in the virtual world…it would be an absolute gift to hear from him on the blog some day!

    Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Dr Lucy, bless you for keeping us updated so quickly on Mapendo, she looks so serene in her latest photo. Yes, I’m still in shock over little Vumilia’s passing, he was eating, interacting with Andre and Mupendo…you guys did everything you could to help him, that’s for sure. I will continue to pray for Mapendo, I’m just beginning to fully realize how fragile they are.

  6. Lucia Cristiana, Brazil
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Dr Lucy and all of you that help little Lowland Gorillas. Wonderful news. Vumilia rest in peace in God’s hands after a painful’s journey in Earth. Our hearts are with Vumilia’s immaculate and innocent soul and with the sweetness into Mapendo’s eyes.

  7. Annie/Texas
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you thank you!!!!!!!! That lil girl looks so sweet! I hope she will do well there and that you can find out what happened to Vumilia……I pray this lil darling will be ok!

  8. Cathy-California
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    With everything that Mapendo has been through, it is amazing how easily she has bonded with Andre. I still feel such sadness for Vumilia as he was so close to starting the life he deserved. Thank you Andre for your dedication and thanks to everyone involved in the care of these precious orphans.

  9. Posted January 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I love your Blog. Thank you for sharing these stories.

  10. Posted January 16, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Sean, you’ve got a pretty cool Web site, too.


  11. Christina/San Diego,CA
    Posted January 19, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Tragic news that Vumilia did not survive. Mapendo is lucky to be alive and thankfully has established a bond with Andre. The work you’ve done to help the orphans is wonderful!

    Posted January 20, 2008 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Yes Christina, Its been a week now that precious little Vumilia passed and I wonder how Mapendo is doing, if she is out of quarantine yet…hopefully she is putting on some weight. Thank God she has Andre and the other caretakers.

  13. Yelin / Singapore
    Posted April 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    tHks for sharing all these stories. iT’s so sweet to see the team putting in so much effort for the care of these gorillas:) God bless.

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