A park ranger’s selfie that was photo-bombed by female orphaned gorillas at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone viral.
Caretakers Mathieu and Patrick snapped this photo of the gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, inside the Senkwekwe center at Virunga National Park copying human behavior with one leaning in to get into the picture and the other standing proudly.
The park has received dozens of messages about the photo and park officials, including from some who question if the photo is real.
“YES, it’s real!,” park officials wrote on a Facebook post. “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 ranger knows the gorillas well. He helped rescue them as babies.
The park is home to 22 primate species, including three great apes.
It’s estimated that 1,000 mountain gorillas live at the site.
The national park posted the gorilla selfie post and also urged viewers to donate to help with wildlife conservation:
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 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.