By Sarah Khan
Two orphaned gorillas rescued in late September are now being cared for at an orphan sanctuary at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These eastern lowland gorillas are an endangered species and constantly being poached, so there are only about 4,000 of them left in the world.
Isangi is nine months old, feisty and attempts to take on the role of chief while Baraka is five months old, much more tame and tends to sleep a lot. Both are supervised 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by three caretakers.
They are fed human baby formula by bottle, are mostly carried around (because that is what their mothers would have done) and the caretakers also sleep cuddled up with the gorillas like their mothers would.
The gorillas can catch human diseases which would be deadly to them, so all the caretakers must wear masks and wash the soles of their shoes in bleach water to keep out germs.
Isangi and Baraka are only going to be at the sanctuary for a few months, after which they will be transferred to another sanctuary for older orphaned gorillas called GRACE (Gorilla Conservations and Rehabilitation Centre). There, Isangi and Baraka will be raised as a family with 12 other gorillas in a natural habitat, so that when they are released into the wild, they will already have a family.
(Photos courtesy of LuAnne Cadd, Virunga National Park)