Losing a parent is undoubtedly one of the worst and most tragic experiences ever, and the grief it comes with it isn’t exclusive to humans! Animals are aware of death and can experience grief, too.
A heartbreaking photo of a park ranger consoling a gorilla that just lost its mother has gone viral! This photograph shows the gorilla`s capacity to express loss as well as the ranger`s compassion and kindness.
Phil Moore is the photographer who took the photo of the park ranger consoling the orphaned gorilla. The kind ranger`s name is Patrick Karabaranga and he works at the Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This national park is in a region which has been affected by the effects of war, armed conflict for more than two decades and protected by a team of more than 600 rangers.
These locals go through quite an intensive training and risk their lives daily to protect the wildlife of the national park, including the endangered mountain gorillas. And, being the home of more than 200 gorillas of this kind, this park accounts for a quarter of the world`s mountain gorilla population.
As mentioned in the very beginning, this photograph documents gorilla`s grief and Karabaranga’s kindness and compassion. In the photo, you can see the ranger sitting with the orphaned gorilla, and the gorilla has placed his hand of Patrick’s leg, as a sign of appreciation.
The gorilla, along with three other orphans, was brought there after the loss of his mother to poachers. In other words, as a result of attempts by traffickers to illegally take them out of the park.
The gorillas live, thrive, and reproduce in the rainforest, which is their natural habitat. Just like people, they develop a sense of belonging and mourn whey they are separated from their homes and families.
The massive deforestation and the growing infrastructure have gradually but surely made mountain gorillas a critically endangered species.
Although the conservation efforts have proven successful when it comes to restoring the gorilla population to a certain extent, there is still much to be done. After all, this can be concluded by the expression on the faces of both the ranger and the orphaned gorilla.