An older 6 1/2 year old Grauer's Gorilla at the Congo orphanage
Baby Gorillas Rescued, Get a Second Chance
The first rehabilitation effort for Grauer's Gorilla, (aka Eastern Lowland Gorilla) is underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), sponsored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education) Center for Rescued Gorillas is attempting to teach orphaned gorillas how to survive in the wild with the ultimate goal to release them back into the Congo forests.
Sandy Jones, Confiscated Gorilla Program Manager of GRACE in Kasugho, Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking of the baby gorillas, "When you get them to laugh, you know that they have bonded with you and trust you. So we like to make them laugh every day. They are just like humans, when you tickle them, they laugh." Congolese are being trained as caretakers to eventually live with the gorillas in the forest. War, hunting, and poaching have caused these orphaned baby gorillas.
Later in the video below, in a segment "Returning Gorillas to the Wild", some of the orphaned gorillas are transported by United Nations helicopter to the Congo forests to begin remembering and learning how to live in their forest habitat. The gorillas are released from their cages but stay near their human caretakers. They remember to climb trees to pick fruit to eat and also play in the trees. A nearby village is in the conservation district, which is visited by CNN.
In the final segment, "Heading Back into the Forest", the orphaned gorillas, still in the forest with their human caretakers, are checked on. The gorillas adapt quickly to the forest, their "natural environment". The caretakers act as the mother to the youngest, the babies. At night, the orphans are taken inside at the rehabilitation center. The gorillas are learning what foods to eat in the forest, how to build nests, and adapting to their native habitat.
CNN "Orphaned Gorillas' Second Chance" CNN's Jessica Ellis has the backstory on efforts to rehabilitate gorillas in the Congo.