A heartbreaking photo has surfaced online showing a park ranger who is comforting a gorilla that lost its mom to poachers.
For this poor mountain gorilla, the pain is clearly all too much. In a clear and emotional display of mourning, the distressed gorilla is holding onto park ranger Patrick Karabaranga for some support.
The photo was taken in the Virunga National Park in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bond between Patrick, the park ranger, and the gorilla is incredible, and the gorilla is clearly showing his appreciation by putting his hand on the ranger’s leg.
This photograph also highlights the gorilla’s capacity to express grievance and Patrick’s appreciation for another species that is not his own. This is an important skill in such a world where we as humans seem to be negatively affecting the gorilla population with our activities.
Unfortunately, mountain gorillas are critically endangered, this is as a result of two human behaviors. The first is mass deforestation which has resulted in severe habitat loss for gorillas and all animals in the rainforest. Every single day, 80,000 acres of the rainforest are destroyed due to industries such as agriculture and mining.
The second threat to the gorillas is poaching. Unfortunately, Gorilla meat is a popular industry and needs to be stopped.
Conservation efforts recently have led to some success in restoring the wild gorilla populations, but as made clear from this photo, there is still lots to be done.