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.
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.
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.
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.
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.