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Man Comforts Gorilla Who Just Lost His Mom

One of the most terrible events in a person’s life is the death of a parent. This sensation of intense melancholy is not exclusive to humans, as photographer Phil Moore demonstrates.


The agony is all too real for this mountain gorilla, whose mother was slain by poachers. The bewildered gorilla clings to park ranger Patrick Karabaranga for comfort in an intense expression of grief.

This photograph, taken in July 2012 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, shows the gorilla’s ability to express loss and Karabaranga’s compassion for a member of another species: a valuable skill in a world where human activity is increasingly encroaching on the lives of wild gorillas.

Because of two different human actions, mountain gorillas have become severely endangered. For starters, extensive deforestation has resulted in significant habitat loss for not only gorillas but many other rainforest creatures.

Logging businesses unknowingly promote the second human danger to gorillas, poachers, who utilize these roads to enter gorilla habitats and smuggle gorilla meat, by developing the infrastructure to transfer commodities in and out of these jungles.

Conservation efforts have resulted in recent triumphs in recovering the wild gorilla population, but there is still more work to be done, as seen by the gorilla’s mournful look and the comforting park ranger’s.