For rangers at the Virunga National Park a day at work can involve endangered gorillas, conservation work in difficult conditions and the occasional selfie.
On Thursday a ranger used Facebook to share a photo of what he called “another day at the office”.
He posted an image of himself with two gorillas, which soon spread across social media. The great apes are standing upright and apparently posing for the picture.
The 600 anti-poaching team at the Virunga National Park, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is trained to protect animals, including all of the country’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.
The team of rangers is made up of local men and women.
The park’s website says the rangers risk “their lives on a daily basis to safeguard the park’s exceptional wildlife”.
The risk of violence to rangers is so great that officials closed the park gates from May 2018 to February 2019, after the death of a ranger and the kidnapping of two British tourists.
Despite the turmoil which surrounds it Virunga is also home to more than half the global population of mountain gorillas.
The ongoing conflict in the DRC has impacted the gorilla population in Virunga but the park’s conservation efforts meant there were 880 mountain gorillas in the area in 2015.
Some of the park rangers also care round the clock for young orphaned gorillas at the park’s Senkwekwe Centre.
On Friday, as the photographs of rangers and gorillas spread across social media, staff at the park urged people to “make a difference” and donate to Virunga’s conservation efforts.
Additional reporting by agencies