A selfie taken with two female mountain gorillas by a worker at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone viral after the animals remarkably posed for the picture with ease.
The photo, which was initially posted by the worker on his Twitter and Facebook accounts shows the two orphaned gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, standing up and posing like humans for the photo-op.
Je suis contant d’etre Star du moment, mais surtout d’avoir honore mon pays
en particulier l’CCN et le Parc DES VIRUNGA pic.twitter.com/udsQxqAnXz
Also shared on the park’s Instagram page, they moved to confirm the photo is real to clear doubters’ minds.
“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,” they wrote.
“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!”
They also explained how it’s no big of a deal for such species to briefly stand and walk.
“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,” they added.
The Virunga National Park, which is Africa’s oldest park and covers 3,000 square miles was established in 1925 and became a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site in 1979. It is home to about a quarter of the world’s remaining 880 endangered mountain gorillas, as well as lions, elephants and hippos.
The park, formerly named Albert National Park, was created by King Albert I of Belgium primarily to protect the mountain gorillas living in the forests of the Virunga Mountains controlled by the Belgian Congo. It was later expanded north to include the Rwindi Plains, Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains in the far north.
After Congo’s independence in 1960, the park deteriorated rapidly until 1969 when President Mobutu revived it after taking a personal interest in conservation.
He renamed it Virunga National Park, and the first Congolese Wildlife Authority was established. It has since suffered at the hands of poachers and conflicts over the years.