Gorilla Lovingly Embraces Man Who Rescued Her From Hunters

This truly captivating photograph shows a lowland gorilla in the arms of its caretaker

Image of lowland gorilla embracing its caretaker
Image of lowland gorilla embracing its caretaker

The image is the People’s Choice Award winner for Wildlife Photograph of the Year, and it’s not hard to see why it won

Jo-Anne McArthur is the talented photographer who captured this special moment, when the gorilla was rescued from being captured by hunters who intended to tell her for bushmeat.

The gorilla’s name is Pikin and was rescued by the Ape Action Africa group. Pikin was actually sedated while being moved, but they wore off early which meant that Pikin woke up in the car.

Appolinaire Ndohoudou is the man whose arms she awoke in. Appolinaire has dedicated his entire life to protecting gorillas in Cameroon.

“I’m so thankful that this image resonated with people, and I hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals. No act of compassion towards them is ever too small,” McArthur said. “I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption. Such is the case with the story of Pikin and Appolinaire, a beautiful moment between friends.”

The photo was chosen as the winner from 24 others in the People’s Choice Awards. Based in London, The Natural History Museum in London hosts this photography competition every year, and officials from the museum were also very impressed by the photo.

“Jo-Anne’s inspirational image is a symbol of humanity’s power to protect the world’s most vulnerable species and shape a more sustainable future for life on our planet,” said Director Sir Michael Dixon. “Photographs like Jo-Anne’s are a reminder that we can make a difference, and we all have a part to play in addressing our impact on the natural world.”

Winners for the other categories in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be announced in October 2021.

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Written by Alice Joan