Selfie with cheeky 'posing' gorillas is real, says Congo national park

A ranger whose selfie with gorillas has gone viral says he was walking with a pair of animals when he spotted a perfect photo opportunity.
The ranger behind a viral selfie featuring two gorillas standing on their two legs has revealed that primates often imitate human behaviours in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Two gorillas were captured in a selfie that made the rounds on the Internet.
Two gorillas were captured in a selfie that made the rounds on the Internet.PHOTO: MATHIEU SHAMAVU/VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK/FACEBOOK

A funny selfie of two caretakers with two "posing" gorillas made the rounds on the Internet when it was first posted online last week, with many questioning if the selfie was real.

Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo posted on Facebook on Monday (April 22) to confirm the selfie's authenticity.

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

The selfie was taken at the Senkwekwe sanctuary at the national park, featuring two female orphaned gorillas named Ndakazi and Ndeze and their caretakers Mathieu and Patrick.

It was first uploaded on The Elite AntiPoaching Units and Combat Trackers Facebook page last Thursday and credited ranger Mathieu Shamavu for the photo.

The post has since been shared more than 23,000 times and has more than 30,000 reactions.

The park said in its post that it is not surprising to see the gorillas standing on two feet as most primates are comfortable walking upright for short bursts of time.

The park's deputy director said that the animals had learned to imitate their carers, who had looked after them since they were found, reported BBC.

The gorillas' mothers were both killed in July 2007, when the gorillas were four months old and two years old at the time. They were found shortly afterwards and taken to the sanctuary, where they have lived since, said BBC.

The park's Facebook post emphasised that the photo was taken under exceptional circumstances, as approaching gorillas in the wild is not permitted.

The two gorillas were in an enclosed sanctuary that they have been living in since infancy, and the caretakers take care not to put the health of the gorillas in danger, said the park, a Unesco world heritage site.

It also took the opportunity to share more about its fundraiser, where donations would allow them to continue to conserve Virunga's wildlife.