A selfie taken by a ranger with two gorillas has taken the internet by storm. It was just “another day at the office” for a park ranger in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who snapped a selfie with two “posing” gorillas.
In a selfie clicked by Mathieu and Patrick, who belong to the elite anti-poaching units and are combat trackers, the primates were seen standing on two feet and looking directly at the camera, in a manner that seemed very comfortable despite the presence of human beings. As the picture went viral on Facebook with over 22,000 shares, many said it was stunning and amazing. Others said it may be be fake or doctored.
The picture taken at Virunga National Park features two female gorillas, identified as Ndakazi and Ndeze. The national park’s Instagram handle explained that the two gorillas were both orphaned at a very young age and were raised by caretakers at the at the Senkwekwe Centre for Gorilla Orphans. As a result, the two gorillas were at ease with the staff.
“YES, it’s real! Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities! Also, it’s no surprise to see these girls on their two feet either—most primates are comfortable walking upright (bipedalism) for short bursts of time,” the park wrote in the post.
The park’s deputy director, Innocent Mburanumwe told BBC the gorillas had learned to imitate their caretakers, who have looked after them since they were less than four-months-old. According to Mburanumwe, they see the park rangers as their parents because the gorillas’ mothers were both killed in 2007.
However, the work at the park is not all fun and games. According to the park’s website, around one-third of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas reside in Virunga National Park, and rangers at the park have been targeted in the past.
Five rangers were killed in the park last year in an ambush by suspected rebels, and more than 130 park rangers have been killed in Virunga since 1996.