Though it gets better with time, losing someone is never easy and this heartbreaking picture of a ranger and a gorilla goes to show that sorrow is not unique to humans. The poor gorilla was devastated to lose its mother to poachers and the ranger was kind enough to show support with a friendly hug; gorilla’s hand on the ranger’s leg shows appreciation for the act.
The photo was taken at Virunga National Park in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which is Africa’s oldest park, and with over 200 gorillas, home to one-quarter of the 880 mountain gorillas left in existence.
Given that the gorillas are constantly being snatched from the park by poachers and traffickers, the rangers working at the park are working under a constant threat of death in order to try and protect these animals.
According to Chief Warden Emmanuel De Merode, this gorilla and two other orphans had a very difficult start of life. He continues to explain that gorillas at such a young age rarely survive the attacks, but these three fighters managed to stay safe until the rangers found them and took them to back safety.
In addition to poachers and traffickers, the on-going civil war in Congo adds to the danger these people and animals face. The uniqueness of the park makes the rangers fight hard to protect the place knowing that at times, the price can be their own life. What is more, many gorillas die when unintentionally found in the cross-fire.
As De Merode states:
“[The park] is absolutely exceptional. If we lose this park, we’ve lost something that can never be recovered. And so it does require a huge commitment and a huge sacrifice to protect it.”
De Merode and the rest of the rangers see the qualities in gorillas which motivate them to continuously battle all the problems in order to save these beautiful animals. According to De Merode, gorillas have the same qualities as humans, but not our flaws. Watch their story and help save the gorillas’ home by sharing.