“ma-PEN-do”; 12-year-old female
apendo, whose name means “great love” in Kiswahili, was about 3 years of age when she was confiscated from poachers in December of 2007. Mapendo was in the first group of gorillas that arrived at GRACE in April (watch Mapendo’s transfer to GRACE). She is a tough girl and, like Itebero, is very smart and occasionally uses tools. She loves to use branches to rake in food out of her reach when her caregivers are not looking! Mapendo is a good leader and currently the second-ranking gorilla in the GRACE group; she can sometimes even boss around the alpha female Pinga! Mapendo can be recognized by her round face and fluffy hair. Of all the gorillas at GRACE, she looks the most like a mountain gorilla.
Best friends: Serufuli, Kighoma, Amani
Identifying characteristics: Round head, long, thick hair