Observers

A selfie taken by a park ranger in Virunga National Park, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with two gorillas who appear to be posing for the camera has gone viral.

The female gorillas stand casually behind park ranger Mathieu Shamavu and look straight at the camera, as another ranger, Patrick Sadiki, looks on in the background. The photo, first posted on Shamavu's Facebook page on April 20 and on the park's Facebook page two days later, delighted online users, who called the photos "magnificent" and the "best selfie ever."

The park wrote in the photo caption that the gorillas   Ndakazi et Ndeze    are "always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities."

The orphaned gorillas were raised by rangers at the park's Senkwekwe Centre after their mothers were killed in July 2007, according to the BBC. They were two and four months old at the time.

Shamavu and Sadiki frequently share photos of the gorillas they protect on social media. "We love our work because we protect these animals," Shamavu tweeted in 2018.

Photos posted on Sadiki’s Facebook page.

"We love our work because we protect these animals," Shamavu tweeted in 2018.


Park rangers threatened by armed groups

Virunga National Park, located in North Kivu province, is frequently targeted by poachers and armed groups, some of which are based within its confines. A ranger was killed during an attack in March, shortly after the park reopened to tourists following a string of ambushes. At least a dozen rangers were killed in the months before the reserve was closed, The Guardian reported.

>> Read on The Observers: Okapis, gorillas, elephants: the other victims of war in eastern DR Congo


This article was written by Liselotte Mas (@liselottemas).