MALAIKA – ADULT FEMALE
Meaning of name: Malaika means angel in Swahili.
Unlike most infants who were named by trackers, Malaika was named by an American tourist. While tracking the Mubare family in 2002, the tourists and trackers were surprised at the first sighting of the hours-old baby gorilla and one of the tourists requested the honour of naming the baby.
Age: This young, budding miss was born in 2002. At seven years, she is the youngest gorilla in the group and ideally she should be classified as a sub-adult but due to the fact that there are few other females in the group and she is already sexually active and could be with child soon she has skipped a few classes and is considered an adult.
Who’s yo daddy? Undoubtedly Ruhondeza who has not allowed other mature males in the group to have breeding rights and privileges.
Who’s yo mama? Most probably Kashundwe
Malaika has no distinguishing physical characteristics.
She is as playful as a kitten and while papa Ruhondeza languidly whiles the afternoons away, she and brothers Muyambi and Kanyonyi play catch, wrestling and chase each other around the dense jungle foliage. Just like her brothers, she too is curious and inquisitive towards visitors.
Despite her hanging out with the boys, it could be that her motherly instincts are coming to the fore. Before the death of Kashundwe’s baby, she would be seen helping in the motherless orphan’s up-keep and care in a most loving way and was also helpful with Kashundwe’s infant.
Between secret trysts with Kanyonyi and perhaps, Ruhondeza’s attentions, which may soon shift to her, it won’t be long before Malaika is the proud mother of a baby mountain gorilla.