By Stacey Leasca
April 24, 2019
PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images; Mathieu Shamavu via Facebook

Ndakazi and Ndeze, two female gorillas living in Virunga National Park, are showing humans everywhere how to properly pose for a selfie.

On Monday, Mathieu Shamavu, a full-time ranger with Virunga National Park located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, snapped a quick photo of himself with Ndakazi and Ndeze standing perfectly aligned in the background.

“Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities,” the caption of the park's social media post read. “Also, it’s no surprise to see these girls on their two feet either — most primates are comfortable walking upright (bipedalism) for short bursts of time.”

Innocent Mburanumwe, deputy director of Virunga, told the BBC the gorillas' mothers were both killed in July 2007. At the time, Ndakazi and Ndeze were just four months old. The pair was moved to the safety of the Senkwekwe Center, an enclosed sanctuary located at the Park's headquarters in Rumangabo, and have lived there ever since.

And, because the pair grew up around human caretakers, standing on their hind legs is likely a learned behavior.

They are imitating the humans,” Mburanumwe said, explaining that standing on two legs is their way of "learning to be human beings.” However, according to Mburanumwe, this doesn’t happen every day.

"I was very surprised to see it... so it's very funny,” he added. “It's very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up."

The park, CNN explained, is home to an estimated 1,000 mountain gorillas who are all safeguarded by more than 600 rangers who tirelessly patrol the 3,000-square-mile site that has experienced its fair share of violence. As BBC reported, five rangers were killed in Virunga National Park in 2017 following an ambush by suspected rebels. Since 1996, more than 130 park rangers have been killed in Virunga.

Beyond liking the photo, there are ways to help the rangers and the animals they protect.

“Conserving Virunga’s amazing wildlife is a constant challenge for the Park and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support,” the park's post added. “Matching funds have been pledged on every donation to the Park today, up to a total of $25,000 — giving us the opportunity to raise $50,000 for Virunga!”

Visit virunga.org/donate, and remember to never, ever approach a gorilla — or any animal — in the wild. Not all of them are this game for a selfie.

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