Gorillas Pose for a Casual Selfie With the Rangers Who Saved Them
No, the gorillas in the picture above are not humans dressed in gorilla suits. It may seem that way since the gorillas are standing on two legs just like humans, but they really are gorillas. It may also seem strange to see gorillas casually posing for a selfie, but once again, they really are gorillas.
These gorillas grew up without their mothers. Poachers killed their parents when the the now full grown gorillas were just 2 years old and 4 months old. Luckily, rangers stepped in and rescued the babies, raising them themselves.
The gorillas think of the rangers as their parents since they’re the only parents they’ve ever really known. Just like how human babies learn by observation and imitation, these gorillas have done the same thing.
Why are they standing on two feet? Because the rangers (their “parents”) stand on two feet. Why are they posing casually for a selfie? Because the rangers (their “parents”) are posing casually for a selfie. They’re imitating what they see.
Gorillas raised by humans don’t always stand up on two feet like this. Innocent Mburanumwe is the deputy director of Virunga National Park, and he told the BBC that gorillas don’t normally stand like this. In fact, he was surprised to see that these gorillas had learned to stand like humans so naturally. He said, “I was very surprised to see it… so it’s very funny. It’s very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up.”
This particular gorilla selfie was taken in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at a gorilla orphanage (yes, that’s a thing).
It may seem like being a ranger and getting to hang out with gorillas who stand on two feet would be a fun job, but it comes with its fair share of danger. In fact, 5 rangers in Virunga National Park were killed during an ambush last year, and a total of 130 rangers have lost their lives since 1996.
Some of the armed rebels are based in the national park, and some of them regularly poach animals, such as the parents of these two gorillas.
Watch the video below to see more gorilla selfies and to learn more about what obstacles rangers face in DR Congo.
Does it surprise you to see gorillas posing for a selfie? Have you ever seen a gorilla standing on two feet like a human before?