Published: Tue, April 23, 2019

Orphaned gorillas pose for casual selfie with park rangers in DR Congo

A photograph of two gorillas posing for a selfie has gone viral.

A photo of gorillas posing with park rangers in DR Congo has spread around the world.

After the image began gaining widespread attention online, park officials took to Instagram to verify the photo and share more background on the sensational moment. "The photo was taken by Mathieu Shamavu who is a full-time ranger with Virunga National Park", a spokesperson for the National Park told Fox News, via email.

"Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the flawless shot of their true personalities!" the post continued.

That the gorillas were standing on two feet wasn't necessarily surprising - most primates can comfortably walk that way for short periods, the park noted.

This photo, it said, was an exceptional circumstance, and gorillas should not be approached in the wild.

In posting the selfie, Virunga National Park noted that the pair of gorillas live in an enclosed sanctuary where caretakers have worked to avoid putting their health in danger.

Several rangers have been killed there, and two Britons were kidnapped on the site past year. In April 2018, five rangers and a staff driver were killed in an ambush by poachers.

According to their website, Virunga is Africa's oldest national park.

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.

"YES, it's real", the Virunga National Park later posted on their Instagram.

"What might have been a bleak outlook for the species just a couple of decades ago", states the World Wide Fund for Nature, "has brightened in recent years due to conservation efforts".

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