The Charm

200mm, f/2,8, 1/400s, ISO1600

Though gorillas (and chimpanzees) understandably receive most of the spotlight, the Virungas have some other interesting primate inhabitants too. Among these is the golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti), found in all three countries. They are endemic to the Gorilla Highlands region, living in the bamboo forests found along the mountains. Because of habitat destruction they are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Their troops can be quite large — upwards of 30 animals — though not much is known about them beyond basic observations of their behaviour and habits. We profiled a rare researcher five years ago.

Like any primates, golden monkeys make for excellent portrait subjects, and the bamboo forest — though tricky in many ways (it’s often quite dark) — can be a big help. The first few times I tracked golden monkeys, in Uganda’s Mgahinga and Rwanda’s Volcanoes national parks, I didn’t really end up with any useful photographs. Third time was the charm, however, as a visit a couple of years ago worked out very well. This one is among my favourites; a very human-like pose, complete with a fingernail-adorned hand and expressive eyes. Not to mention lovely soft light.

Don’t miss our extensive interview with Marcus and head to his website for even more.