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Selfie by caretakers, gorillas in DRC's Virunga park goes viral

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Gorillas are not known to stand straight by nature but that is what two female gorillas did over the weekend. Doing so for a selfie opportunity with two rangers.

The photo of the rangers and gorillas went viral on social media platforms and attracted wide coverage by mainstream media outlets.

The photo was taken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC’s famed Virunga National Park. Virunga is “Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area.”

“You might have recently seen caretakers Mathieu and Patrick’s amazing #selfie with female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze inside the Senkwekwe center here at Virunga. Is it real? Yes! Are these gorilla gals always this cheeky? Yes!,” the park’s Twitter handle clarified the viral photos.

The park only reopened in February this year after the deadly ambush of a tourist group led to its closure last year over security fears.

Virunga sits on the forest-cloaked volcanoes of central Africa and is home to over half the global population of mountain gorillas. It is also Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve, covering 7,800 sq km (3,000 sq miles).

It was closed after two Britons and their Congolese driver were kidnapped last May by gunmen in the east of the park. They were released three days later, but a ranger was killed trying to defend them..

Warfare in eastern Congo between 1996 and 2003 killed millions of people, mainly through hunger and disease. Since tourism was relaunched in 2014 Virunga has received more than 17,000 visitors.

But armed militia still control large swathes of territory in and around it, and more than 175 rangers have been killed protecting the park.

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