Okay, So What's The Deal With This Completely Weird Gorilla Selfie?
A viral photo has captured two gorillas posing for a selfie with a ranger and looking -- somewhat disconcertingly -- like humans.
The image was taken at the Senkewkwe Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the only sanctuary in the world where gorillas are raised after being orphaned or separated from their families.
Ranger Mathieu Shamavu took the selfie with the two female gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, who were raised in the sanctuary after both of their mothers were killed in 2007.
The gorillas were just two and four months-old at the time, so they have adopted certain human behaviours and will stand on their hind legs to imitate the rangers.
Virunga National Park, the land the sanctuary is situated within, posted on Instagram that it is a "cheeky" example of the gorillas mocking humans. However, gorillas are comfortable in the wild walking on two feet for short bursts.
Virunga was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and contains six gorilla families. It's located in the politically-unstable North Kivu province of the DRC, which suffers from growing turmoil similar to that seen in the lead up to the 1997 civil war, which killed 5 million Congolese.
READ MORE: Kidnapped American Tourist Has Been Rescued
Gorillas in the Congo Basin face multiple threats, including hunting for bushmeat or trading in the traditional medicine industry; deforestation; and infectious diseases such as Ebola -- between 2002 and 2003, 95 percent of the gorillas in Odzala National Park died as a result of the hemorrhagic fever.
In the DRC, violent gangs run illegal poaching units, driven by a desire to win back land from conservationists they believe limit local rights to land use and resources.
In April of 2018, five park rangers and one driver were killed in an ambush in Virunga. The murders were the single worst loss of life that the park had seen.
More than 170 rangers have died protecting the park in the past two decades.
The rangers have been armed and trained to kill poachers in the park but critics say that this militarisation of the conservation units only serves to escalate conflict in an already volatile situation.