What a better way to show affection to someone you love, than a big warm hug. This is how a young gorilla decided to thank the man who risks his own life to protect her. In a series of intimate snaps, Ndazi shows how much she loves her keeper Andre.

Image credits MERCURY PRESS

The heartwarming images shows the duo sharing some tender moments in the the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chicago-based wildlife photographer Shannon Witz witnessed the moments and caught them on camera. However, is not just the friendly primate the one that acts fondly of her keeper, but vice-versa as Andre display nothing but big smiles and happiness when around these gorgeous creatures.

Image credits MERCURY PRESS

The touching images reveal, once again, the special bond that exist between these endangered gorillas and the men willing to protect them with the cost of their own lives. Only by watching these photos, you can notice the trust between them. Over the last two decades more than 180 park rangers have reportedly died trying to protect animals in natural parks. This proves how dedicated and fondly of wildlife these people are.

Image credits MERCURY PRESS

“I was very happy with the photos, especially the one where Ndazi is leaning into Andre,” Shannon told CATERS NEWS. “Her eyes are closed and there is this sense of calmness and serenity in that moment…It shows the genuine affection and trust they have for one another. It was a beautiful moment and I was fortunate to have witnessed it.”

Image credits MERCURY PRESS

h.t: catersnews