Ranger gives gorilla a hug after parents killed by poachers

Ruth Doherty
Park ranger hugs orphaned gorilla Democratic Republic of Congo
Park ranger hugs orphaned gorilla Democratic Republic of Congo





Photographs from a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo show heartbreaking scenes as a park ranger comforts a gorilla which lost its parents to poachers.

Patrick Karabaranga, a warden at the Virunga National Park, comforts the orphaned mountain gorilla in the gorilla sanctuary park headquarters at Rumangabo in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

See also: National Geographic Photo Contest 2015 winners

See also: Zookeeper's emotional reunion with gorilla he hand-reared 20 years ago


The Virunga park is home to some 210 mountain gorillas, approximately a quarter of the world's population.

The four orphans at the sanctuary are the only mountain gorillas in the world not living in the wild, having been brought here after their parents were killed by poachers or as a result of traffickers trying to smuggle them out of the park.

Ranger gives gorilla a hug after parents killed by poachers
Ranger gives gorilla a hug after parents killed by poachers



Emmanuel De Merode, Director for Virunga National Park, said: "They play a critical part in the survival of the species."


The mountain gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla.

There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) pictured here.

The other is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

As of September 2015, the estimated number of gorillas remaining is less than 900.

They face a host of threats, including poaching, war and unrest, and habitat loss, and are dependent on conservation efforts to survive.




Related articles

Man in gorilla costume mistakenly shot with tranquiliser dart at Spanish zoo

Toddler plays peek-a-boo with young gorilla at zoo


Mountain Gorilla Takes a Selfie
Mountain Gorilla Takes a Selfie

From Our Partners