After a park ranger’s spectacular selfie with two orphaned gorillas went viral, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had to take to Instagram to say that it is in fact real.
The selfie taken by Ranger Mathieu Shamavu quickly went viral during the past week for obvious reasons.
According to NBC News, Shamavu took the picture with the two gorillas. He works for the park’s anti-poaching unit, and the gorillas in the photo, Ndakazi and Ndeze, are both orphans who have been raised in the park.
The Virunga National Park said that it is not uncommon for gorillas to walk upright for short bursts of time:
“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
Exceptional Circumstances: Ndakazi and Ndeze
The park’s deputy director told BBC Newsday that the gorillas had learned to imitate their carers, who have looked after them since they were found.
The gorillas, he added, think of the rangers as their parents. Innocent Mburanumwe, deputy director of Virunga, told the BBC that that the gorillas’ mothers were both killed in July 2007. The gorillas were just two and four months old at the time.
Virunga continued and said the photo happened under “exceptional circumstances,” reminding people “it is never permitted to approach a gorilla in the wild.”