In Pictures: Virunga National Park’s baby gorilla with head of thick, lustrous hair

Photos shot in the Virunga Volcanoes National Park by professional wildlife photographer Andy Rouse show a baby gorilla, in its mother’s arms, posting a mas-jet of hair.

The series of photos capture two families from the Kwitonda group of gorillas with a baby gorilla around two months old. They were taken in the mountains of Rwanda.

Mr Rouse said: “We were trekking on my 52nd trek to the Kwitonda Group and when we arrived the silverback was sitting with a group of females.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“After getting his permission for us to enter, which the guides do with vocal calls, we sat around 10 metres away and just watched the amazing scene.”

Mountain gorillas are known to be found at high altitudes ranging from around 2,500-4,000m in montane forests, as well as bamboo forests.

A group of mountain gorillas usually consists of a single dominant silverback male, three adult females, and four to five offspring.

According to WWF since its discovery, the mountain gorilla has endured uncontrolled hunting, war, disease, destruction of its forest habitat, and capture for the illegal pet trade.

These factors have led to a dramatic decline in numbers. However, thanks to conservation efforts, the population of mountain gorillas has increased from 620 individuals in 1989 to around 880 individuals today according to WWF.

Rouse said: “I always feel so relaxed and happy when I see mountain gorillas, I just love every single second I spend with them.

“Of course you have to show tremendous respect to the silverback, he is a 250KG gentle giant though.

“When I saw these babies my heart just skipped a beat, I have always been a real softie when it comes to baby animals and now I have a young 10 month old daughter of my own, I guess I am drawn more towards them.

“I certainly love watching their antics and the amazing tenderness that the mother shows towards them.

“The younger baby, being only three weeks old, was always very close to the mother whilst the older one was a lot more trouble for the mother and was always trying to escape her clutches!

“It’s always awe inspiring to be in the wild with mountain gorillas and to see new hope and new life for future generations is a very special treat indeed.”