The problem with reality TV is that reality inherently changes when it’s being filmed for TV. As soon as the subject is aware of its broader audience, every word and gesture is filtered through the context of that audience’s perception. Nature videos, on the other hand, have the benefit of their subjects never knowing they’re on TV–or what TV even is, for that matter. That great white shark didn’t eat that seal to create a viral gif. He did it because he had the munchies.
Paradoxically, it’s the lack of audience-awareness that makes these gorillas posing for selfies so fascinating.
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You might have recently seen caretakers Mathieu and Patrick’s amazing selfie with female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze inside the Senkwekwe center at Virunga National Park. We’ve received dozens of messages about the photo. YES, it’s real! Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities! 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. Guys, if you shared our gorilla selfie post, please share our Earth Day posts as well! Conserving Virunga’s amazing wildlife is a constant challenge for the Park and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. 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 or click the link in our bio to get involved and keep sharing our posts! Thank you! *We want to emphasize that these gorillas are in an enclosed sanctuary for orphans to which they have lived since infancy. The caretakers at Senkwekwe take great care to not put the health of the gorillas in danger. These are exceptional circumstances in which the photo was taken. It is never permitted to approach a gorilla in the wild. #gorillaselfie #gorilla #mountaingorilla #mountaingorillaselfie #selfie #earthday #earthday2019 #virunga #virunganationalpark #congo #drcongo #rdc #drc #protecttheplanet #happyearthday #wildlife #wildlifeconservation #conservation #natureconservation
Everybody knows that primate content peaked with Amy the Gorilla in Congo drinking a sky-martini, but these photos may be a close second. Park rangers at a gorilla orphanage in Virunga National Park, DR Congo, took these selfies with the gorillas in the background oozing unflappable ease and confidence. But the gorillas aren’t doing so in an attempt to become the first generation of Gorinfluencers on Instagram or whatever; they took them because gorillas innately know how to copy human behavior, and all humans do now is take selfies.
As BBC News reports, “Because they’ve grown up with the rangers who rescued them [in July 2007], [Virunga deputy director Innocent Mburanumwe] said, ‘they are imitating the humans’–and standing on two legs is their way of ‘learning to be human beings.'”
This is both true and not true. At one point, merely standing on two legs would indeed count as learning to be human beings. But if looking at the relaxed posture and playfully insouciant attitude these gorillas are serving, it’s clear they are aiming higher than mere humans; they’re learning to be social media stars.