A pair of mountain gorillas some of the most endangered creatures on Earth have been snapped in an uncannily human pose in a selfie with rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is considered to be one of the most important sites in the world for Great Apes with the lush forests boasting gorillas of all varieties, chimpanzees and even the elusive humanlike bonobos. Unfortunately, military turmoil, industrialization and a significant upsurge in poaching have put the traditional territories of these incredible animals at risk in recent years.
The Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to a number of gorillas and in a bid to save these animals from the fate of so many others in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A team of 600 rangers works across the park to keep wildlife safe from poachers and human incursion, in a region which has been heavily impacted by war and conflict which has raged for more than 20 years. These rangers work in extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances. Part of their training requires them to learn specialized fighting skills including firearms to prepare for an invasion of the territory by warlords. The Rangers are also given full emergency situation training so that they are prepared for everything.
“Selfie of the Year no question!,” said Yvonne Ndege, a former BBC journalist now working for the UN in Kenya who also shared the image on Twitter, saying she had also visited the park but hadn’t got as close.
As well as drawing attention to the plight of these gorillas in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and the brave rangers who protect them, the images have also served to show the affectionate nature of the relationship between the gorillas and their human friends to the world.