LOOK: Gorillas charm in selfie with rescuers
Gorilla see, gorilla do?
Two gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo have charmed the internet after their selfie poses made headlines around the world.
The picture was taken at the gorilla orphanage in Virunga National Park by caretaker Mathieu Shamavu; in the background is another caretaker identified by the park as Patrick. Shamavu shared the picture on his Facebook on Saturday, April 20.
The gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, both female, are seen standing upright and looking at the camera in poses similar to the humans with them.
Park deputy director Innocent Mburanumwe told BBC in a Monday, April 22, report that the gorillas view the rangers as their parents after they were rescued.
The gorillas were only a few months old when their mothers were killed by poachers in July 2007, Mburanumwe said. They have since lived at the park’s Senkwekwe Center for Orphaned Mountain Gorillas.
He said the apes were mimicking their human “parents” by standing on their legs.
The park’s Facebook page shared the picture and explained, “Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities!”
“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.”
It also advised not to take pictures with gorillas in the wild, noting that the selfie was taken in special circumstances.
“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.”
Rescue rangers put their lives on the line to protect and save animals. Armed groups are behind poaching of animals in the park. Since 1996, over 130 park rangers have been killed in Virunga, reported BBC.
According to the park, it houses 22 primate species, though the eastern lowland gorillas are critically endangered, with a decline by over 50% since the 1990s.
It said on Facebook, “Poaching, insecurity and human encroachment are pushing these majestic animals into increasingly fragmented habitats, making their protection extremely challenging for [the park].” Niña V. Guno /ra
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