Endangered Gorillas Pose For Pictures With The Park Rangers

Some people dedicate their entire lives to saving nature and endangered wildlife.  Rangers at The Virunga National Park, in the DRC, are some of these humans who will restore your faith in humanity. Ranger Mathieu Shamavu’s now-viral photo shows him posing with two gorillas who live in the National Park, safe from poachers or any armed conflicts that may affect their well-being.

Virunga National Park is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and is maintained by more than 600 anti-poaching rangers. Historically, this area had been profoundly affected by armed conflicts and war-like situations, which left a significant negative impact on the populations who inhabited the region, and the animals living in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the gorillas in the animal kingdom had been killed due to traditional medicine, food, and the bushmeat trade. Rangers are fighting to protect these poor animals, and their incredible bond is visible in the photos.

Female gorillas pose with their anti-poaching park ranger.

To be employed, the rangers must undergo intense training to ensure the rangers’ and gorillas’ safety in this dangerous job, which aims to protect the park’s endangered species. This park chiefly survives on donations from the public. A kind donation of $150 can feed an orphaned gorilla for two weeks. Smaller donations are also accepted and can be used to purchase boots for the rangers and provide safe facilities to the endangered gorillas.

The rangers find this job to be a rewarding and challenging task since the animals show their complete trust for the Rangers, which is observed in the photos.

Gorillas playing with their anti-poaching ranger.

Note that, Virunga National Park is home to 22 primate species, 78 amphibia, 109 reptiles, 706 bird, and 218 mammals. Almost a third of the endangered mountain gorillas population throughout the world live in this park. Daily, rangers fight to keep the wildlife safe. Unfortunately, 179 wildlife soldiers have lost their lives while protecting these animals.

“There is a bond that ties us together. A relationship that is very, very close between the guardians and the gorillas,” says Andre Bauma, the manager of the Senkwekwe Centre. The rangers and the gorillas display an unconditional love towards one another at the Virunga National Park.
The park had been founded in 1925 to defend its rich biodiversity; the region has the presence of the last 880 mountain gorillas. In 1979, it was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has created a mesmerizing example for human beings around the world. 

Virunga National Park Battles to Protect The Critically Endangered Species of Africa

Virunga National Park is a national park in the Abertine Rift Valley, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country within Central Africa. 

The park was created long ago, a result of the European conservation movement. The idea behind the movement was to establish a protected area in the northeastern Belgian Congo. Originally the protected area was set up in 1925 as Albert National Park. It was later expanded in 1929 to include Virunga National Park. It wasn’t until 1969 that the two parks were merged together as to become just Virunga National Park. 

A massive park, measuring at 8,090 square kilometers, it is one of the first ever areas in Africa to become protected. And for good reason; among the countless other species, there are over 200 mountain gorillas in the park, roughly one-quarter of the entire mountain gorilla population. 

Even as a protected area, Virunga National Park has still seen a lot of struggle. The park has suffered from the many years of war and other armed conflicts in the region. Climate change, community expansion, and poachers are also ongoing problems. Still, Virunga’s team of over 600 rangers do the best job that they can to defend the park and the wildlife that resides in it. 

Mountain Gorilla in Virunga National Park.

The rainforest serves as a natural home for the mountain gorillas, who thrive and raise families in the lush environment. There have been conservation efforts to further assist the gorillas, and while the efforts have done much to restore the species’ population, we still have a long way to go. Extensive deforestation in the region has proved to be very damaging, and the mountain gorilla is still a critically endangered species. 

It’s not just gorillas that are in danger. There has been an extensive battle to protect the elephant population as well. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed on a yearly basis for their ivory tusks. While there was an official ban on international trade that was placed in 1989, which did help the population to recover, there has remained a lot of ivory poaching and trafficking. 

Among the other endangered species are the African wild dog, the African penguin, Grévy’s zebra, the Ethiopian wolf, the black rhinoceros, and the white rhinoceros, to name just a few. Thankfully, the African Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to protecting as many of these precious species as they can. They have devised many solutions, which includes deploying sniffer dogs, and training wildlife rangers and law enforcement officers to help prevent wildlife crime. 

Elephants roaming through the Congo’s national park.

And ultimately, the African Wildlife Foundation is just one of many such organizations dedicated to helping the environment. There is also the International Volunteer HQ, Enkosini Eco Experience, ELI Abroad, the African Conservation Experience, among many others. 

For all the damage that the human race has done to the environment, we are also the ones who are tasked with the responsibility of repairing that damage and making this world a cleaner, healthier place to live in, both for our own sake and for the sake of the many wonderful animals who inhabit it. 

Sources used: 

https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/a-park-ranger-comforts-a-sad-gorilla-that-just-lost-its-mother/?fbclid=IwAR2Z91X7ipelYLKikb1Nc_pTmwCa8Sx4tKO2q66dC9xgBdq6qdwuqdc3poc 

https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/endangered_species/elephants/african_elephants/afelephants_threats/ 

https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation 

https://www.goabroad.com/articles/volunteer-abroad/africa-animal-volunteer-programs 

https://www.safaribookings.com/blog/endangered-animals-africa