While many Homo sapiens can’t help but flash watery smiles and inappropriately blink when the camera comes out, the primates of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo are naturals.
A set of photos taken by their friendly protector shows one gorilla placing its hands on its hips and tossing its head back, and another coolly draped over its human friend’s shoulders.
While gorillas can be dangerous to humans and have been known to kill, a strong bond has formed between the critically endangered primates and the Virgunga Park rangers.
As depicted in the Academy Award-nominated documentary ‘Virunga’, the gorillas are under constant threat both from poachers and war.
At the same time as illegal hunters kill the gorillas and sell them as ‘bushmeat’, their natural habitat has been pushed from all sides by a war that has been raging for close to 20 years.
The gorillas shot to global attention when the film was released in 2014.
It tells the story of four characters fighting to protect the park and its inhabitants – the world’s last mountain gorillas – from a war fuelled by internationally backed oil exploration.
The photos were posted by The Elite Anti-Poaching Units and Combat Trackers in a bid to highlight the beauty of the animals, and to showcase the work anti-poachers do.