By Evelyn Iritani
RUMANGABO, Democratic Republic of Congo — Emmanuel de Merode knows exactly when his passion began. He was a curious young man with a dream of becoming a park ranger when he first saw the mountain gorillas, giant beasts with an intelligent, surprisingly disarming nature.
He was smitten.
“Every time you go into a group of gorillas, you’re blown off your feet,” said de Merode, who is now the director at Virunga National Park, home for 220 of the endangered animals. “It’s like being married to somebody you adore. Whether you’re 20 or 90. It’s the same thing with the mountain gorillas.”
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