Rescued 2006, Died 2016, Read Dunia’s memorial
Dunia was a lovely gorilla with a lot of curiosity about the world around her. She was therefore well suited to her name which means “world”. In 2006, when she was about 1 year old, Dunia was taken from her family by poachers in DRC and brought to neighboring Rwanda where they tried to sell her as a pet. Dunia was in a small duffle bag when wildlife officials, as part of a sting operation, confiscated her. Dunia was part of the second group of gorillas that arrived at GRACE in July 2011.
Dunia was always very interested in checking out what humans were doing, but also had very good relationships with the gorillas in her group. She was particularly friendly with female Mapendo, and these girls would defend each other if either was involved in an altercation. Dunia had a close relationship with young Isangi, and acted as her surrogate mother, always protecting, carrying, and playing with her. Dunia was very intelligent and was quick to learn new things. She had a sweet disposition that endeared her to everyone. Dunia died suddenly in 2016 after a brief intestinal illness. She is greatly missed by everyone at GRACE.
Rescued 2003, Died 2014, Read Ntabwoba memorial
Ntabwoba was the leader of the GRACE gorilla group before he died unexpectedly of encephalitis in 2014. Ntabwoba was rescued in 2003 in a Rwandan village when he was less than two years old. He was dehydrated and needed comfort, but he was a fighter and thus was appropriately named Ntabwoba, meaning “fearless”. After being cared for at a facility in Rwanda, Ntabwoba was transferred to GRACE in 2011 with five other gorillas.
Ntabwoba was the oldest gorilla at GRACE and with time, grew into the role of a dominant male, though sometimes strong female Pinga would step in to do his job. Ntabwoba was a peacekeeper in the group and the first to welcome newly introduced gorillas. He could be mischievous at times but was also protective, intelligent, curious, and the first to investigate anything new. He had a gentle demeanor and would have been an amazing silverback. Pinga is now leading the group, but Ntabwoba’s absence is still felt today.