Category Archives: Kabirizi Family

Kabirizi silverback is a dad again

Having met the Kabirizi family twice I feel as if they are my family so you can imagine my joy when I saw that Kabirizi has another child. that means that Miza, the orphaned baby gorilla we wrote about in “Looking for Miza” about has another sibling!

Look at this beauty!

Kabirizi baby gorilla

Thank you Innocent for bringing us this wonderful news. I know that things are still very difficult in eastern DR Congo but the gorillas look quite peaceful thanks to our former CEO Emmanuel de Merode who is now the Virunga National Park warden and his team of dedicated rangers on the ground.

Congratulations to Virunga rangers for winning award

Last year, after meeting the wonderful Nancy Abrahams, we were invite to recommend candidates for the Abrahams Foundation conservation awards. The Alexander Abraham Foundation based in the United States, recognizes people in defence of the natural resources of the DRC, in particular the natural parks which contain many rare and endangered species. It was a no brainer fur us, we nominated the men who had put their necks on the line and risked everything to save Virunga National Parks endangered mountain gorillas at a time when nobody else dared.

We nominated Paulin, who risked his life by exposing the link between the illegal charcoal trade, corruption and the gorilla killings. Paulin ultimately paid the price with his position in Virunga and now works in Salonga National Park.

Innocent and Diddy

We also nominated Innocent and Diddy, two rangers who represent so many other dedicated rangers, were also nominatd. Their diarise on WidlifeDirect  raised global awareness about the unfolding situation. Ending up on the BBC and appearing in numerous publications including the book Looking for Miza, Innocent and Diddy have come to symbolise the hope that we can all believe in.

Looking for Miza

Innocent and Diddy are the hero’s of this true story

Despite the fame, they have retained their personal dedication and continue to conserve wildlife in the Virunga National Park.  We congratulate Innocent, Diddy and Paulin for recognition well deserved.

It was such a big event that even Alan Doss of MONUC attended and made a speech.  He said that these people should be considered “heroes,” considering the various threats and daily violence they face to protect the parks and the territories of the country.

He compared their work to that of the United Nations Blue Helmets in the DRC “who give their all to protect thousands of civilians against acts of violence in the northeast of the country.”

Everyone at WildlifeDirect is very proud that our nominations were considered and that these three wonderful men and two others have received the reconition that they deserve.  We congratulate the team at ICCN in Virunga for these awards.

New babies to Mizas family, the Kabirizi group

Its amazing that the ICCN are able to conduct a gorilla census sin Vurunga National Park despite the continued conflict that is ongoing (even though most news agencies have tired of telling that story apart from Bloomberg who reports cooperative efforts between Congo and Rwanda).

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Diddy at Bukima camp last year when he found Miza

Diddy and Innocent have revealed that not only have they found most gorilla families intact, but that there migraitons, and importantly, there have been some births. We are still waiting to hear about Miza and look at her photos. Her sister Mivumbi who rescued her when she was orphaned, has had an infant of her own. If you haven’t got it yet,  the childrens book Looking for Miza is a perfect Christmas gift for any child or adult.

Baby mountain gorilla named Miza in Virunga National Park in June 2007

Miza was orphaned last year and it was feard she was dying

Read more about the exciting survey and watch the videos from the field here

Looking for Miza is no. 1 in childrens books on apes

Looking for Miza was only just recently launched in New York at the first childrens Gorilla Summit

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The book was developed to raise awareness amongst young people about the crisis facing mountain gorillas, and the need for everyone to help. Like it’s predecessor Owen and Mzee, “Looking for Miza” is already no. 1 in Amazons non fiction childrens books on monkeys and apes.  This book was made possible through a collaboration with the ICCN and involved working with  Diddy and Innocent, two rangers who are the heroes of the story. After spending time with them in Congo they both came to Kenya to help tie up ends. Both Diddy and Innocent were wonderful to work with and are recognized in the book along with others for their important contributions towards the story and photos. from is the editorial review on Amazon

“In a magical place called the Congo, in the beautiful forests and jungles of Virunga National Park, lives a young female mountain gorilla named Miza. She was just like any other baby gorilla, riding on her mother’s back, playing, taking naps. Then, one day, when Miza and her mother were out searching for food, Miza’s mother disappeared, leaving her baby alone and frightened. Miza’s father, a fierce silverback named Kabirizi and the leader of Virunga’s largest family of mountain gorillas, set out to find Miza. The Congolese rangers, who dedicate their lives to protecting the gorillas, were searching for Miza, too. Everyone was worried about her. Then something amazing happened: Kabirizi found Miza and brought her back to live with her family.

Virunga is home to roughly 380 mountain gorillas, just over half of the planet’s remaining mountain gorilla population. Miza and other mountain gorillas face an especially uncertain future. They are an endangered species, disappearing at an alarming speed. Without our help they could vanish completely.

Filled with lush photographs by award-winning photographer Peter Greste, LOOKING FOR MIZA is a powerful call to action. The fate of these majestic creatures is in our hands. This is Miza’s story. It’s our story, too. ”

Children are signing the Kids Global Act  Pact and leaving suggestions for solutions to the crisis on the Scholastic website here

You can order the book on Amazon here