Me and my pri-mates! Anti-poaching ranger’s extraordinary selfies with two gorillas that look almost HUMAN in Congo national park
Source: Daily Mail
Two gorillas at the Virunga National Park in Congo looked extraordinarily human-like as they posed for selfies with anti-poaching rangers.
Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has 600 dedicated rangers and two of them snapped the heart-warming series of selfies with the gorillas who can weight up to 400lbs.
One shows the gorillas standing upright behind the men, while another titled ‘family time’ shows one of the rangers, Patrick Sadiki with the primates, Ndakasi and Matabishi cuddling up to him.
The latest picture, posted on Thursday, garnered over 12 thousand likes and 14 thousand shares on Facebook at the time of writing.
It was titled ‘another day at the office’ and one person, Pernilla Winterskiöld, replied: ‘Wow, that is an awesome office you’ve got there. Stay safe and thank you for the amazing work you do.’
According to the park’s website, the area has been ‘deeply’ impacted by war and armed conflict over the last two decades and so the fearless work of the rangers is crucial.
In total, 179 rangers have died in the line of duty.
‘These local men and women go through intensive training, risking their lives on a daily basis to safeguard the park’s exceptional wildlife, including the last of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas,’ the website reads.
All of the rangers go through an extensive six-month training regime to become guardians of the park.
They are all from local Congolese towns and villages and need support to continue their vital work.
The rangers are the guardians of the park that was primarily gazetted to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas that call it home.
It was created in 1925 and is among the first protected areas in Africa. In altitude, it ranges from 680 m in the Semliki River valley to 5,109 m in the Rwenzori Mountain.
Around 400 gorillas, in around 10 groups led by males flow freely between the Rwandan protected area and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park.
In 2013, the park authorities estimated that six mountain gorilla families – 100 individuals – were contained in Virunga and available to track.
The 1990’s war period in the Rwanda was so challenging to the Virunga because of high influx of refugees into the Virunga conservancy who encroached on wildlife resources, but the rangers protect the gorillas from external forces including poachers.
Democratic Republic of Congo also is the only country with both Lowland and Mountain gorillas but it is not only these large primates in the park, the 2012 wildlife census recorded 218 mammal species – of which 22 are primates, 706 bird species, 109 reptiles and 65 amphibian species.
It is also home to Mount Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano, and Mount Mikeno, a dormant one.