Of all the 24 gorillas in our care, Geri was the first to be rescued back in 1997 when she was only around one year old. The young gorilla was initially cared for in Yaoundé, where she later met fellow orphans Avishag and Jasmine. As a baby Geri was always very quiet but had a great appetite for her milk and a particular passion for carrots, which are still one of her favourite foods.

Once our forest site was established, the three young girls were moved to our park and introduced to their male counterparts, orphans Kibu, Nkamun and Bobo. Caregiver Mr Alfred Kombele recalls that while Kibu and Nkamun could be a little rough with the females, Bobo was always very sweet and gentle. This made him a popular playmate among Geri and the other girls, and the friendships they built as infants later led to Bobo becoming dominant silverback of the group. To this day the females remain fiercely loyal to Bobo, ensuring that his position as leader of the group is safe despite occasional challenges from Kibu and Nkamun.

Now 25 years old, Tantine Geri (Auntie Geri), as her caregivers affectionately call her, is an incredibly beautiful gorilla and has kept her very calm and quiet nature. Though she's the lowest ranking female in the group, she has maintained close relationships with the other girls and with silverback Bobo. She's wonderfully curious and intelligent, and it's a pleasure to watch her among her groupmates in their forest enclosure, especially when she's showing off her own individual style for drinking from the water tap.

Like all of our rescued orphans, Geri never should have lost her family and she should never have been taken from the wild. But she's grown up in a safe home with us, a home in the forest with other members of her own species, and a home for life.  

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