Upright gorillas go viral after they pose for photo

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 23 April 2019, 3:01PM
'Another day at the office,' for ranger Shamavu. (Photo / Instagram)
'Another day at the office,' for ranger Shamavu. (Photo / Instagram)

Two gorillas apparently posing for a selfie with a park worker have gone viral.

The bizarre picture, has caused a stir as the Virunga gorillas appear to have taken a break from monkeying around, stood upright and joined in ranger Mathieu Shamavu's selfie.

However Shamavu, a former worker for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, saw nothing unusual in the primates' pose. He captioned his instagram snap "another day at the office."

A far cry from any behaviour you might see David Attenborough documentary, the candid snap has many asking if it's been faked.

"YES, it's real!" replied the Virunga National park, on whose social media feeds the picture was circulated.

"It's no surprise to see these girls on their two feet - most primates are comfortable walking upright (bipedalism) for short bursts."

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Virunga National Park (@virunganationalpark) on Apr 22, 2019 at 4:03am PDT

The two female apes, Ndakazi and Nzeze, have lived in the Senkwekwe sanctuary since they were orphaned.

The pair of primate posers has been circulated around anti-poaching groups and social media, becoming public faces for the plight of the Congolese mountain gorilla.

The Virunga national park is situated in the East of the DRC and was established in 1925 to preserve the giant primates. There are thought to be only 1000 left in the wild.

The work of the park was the subject of an Academy Award nominated documentary in 2014, as the conservationists faced threats from oil exploration and a violent armed rebellion in the surrounding jungles.

The work of Africa's oldest National Park continues today and the heritage site hopes that the photo showing another side of these cheeky primates might help encourage more interest and donations for their work in the country.

For more information visit Virunga.org

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