A selfie of two gorillas standing behind a park ranger standing upright and all posed up for the picture quickly went viral after it was posted online.
The photo shows a pair of orphaned mountain gorillas with two park rangers who rescued them as babies in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ranger Mathieu Shamavu, a member of an anti-poaching unit, took the picture with the endangered gorillas and posted the image on the park’s Facebook page with the caption “Another day in the office”
The picture immediately grabbed everyone’s attention mainly because people couldn’t believe it wasn’t photoshopped.
The park, however, addressed those concerns on an Instagram post that read, “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.”
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You might have recently seen caretakers Mathieu and Patrick’s amazing selfie with female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze inside the Senkwekwe center at Virunga National Park. We’ve received dozens of messages about the photo. 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. Guys, if you shared our gorilla selfie post, please share our Earth Day posts as well! Conserving Virunga’s amazing wildlife is a constant challenge for the Park and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Matching funds have been pledged on every donation to the Park today, up to a total of $25,000—giving us the opportunity to raise $50,000 for Virunga! Visit virunga.org/donate or click the link in our bio to get involved and keep sharing our posts! Thank you! *We want to emphasize that these gorillas are in an enclosed sanctuary for orphans to which they have lived since infancy. The caretakers at Senkwekwe take great care to not put the health of the gorillas in danger. These are exceptional circumstances in which the photo was taken. It is never permitted to approach a gorilla in the wild. #gorillaselfie #gorilla #mountaingorilla #mountaingorillaselfie #selfie #earthday #earthday2019 #virunga #virunganationalpark #congo #drcongo #rdc #drc #protecttheplanet #happyearthday #wildlife #wildlifeconservation #conservation #natureconservation
Innocent Mburanumwe, the park’s deputy director told BBC News that the gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, had learned to imitate their caretakers, who have looked after them since they were just babies.
The gorillas, he added, think of the rangers as their parents, as their parents were killed by poachers in 2007, when the gorillas in question were only two and four months old. “I was very surprised to see it… so it’s very funny. It’s very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up,” he said.
Ranger Mathieu Shamavu explained that the caretakers at the orphanage try to give the animals as much access as possible to their natural environment, but they inevitably exhibit almost the same behaviour as humans. “In terms of behaviour, they like to mimic everything that is happening, everything we do.” Shamavu said.
According to rangers at the sanctuary, Ndakazi and Ndeze were the first to be cared for at the Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage Centre, the only one of its kind in the world. The park’s website further reveals that around one-third of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas reside in Virunga National Park which is also one of the most bio-diverse national parks in Africa, spanning tropical forests, snow-peaked mountains and active volcanoes.