Watch a majestic silverback gorilla serve as a crossing guard for his troop

Mountain gorillas are absolutely amazing. They’re highly intelligent, enormously strong, very dangerous if threatened, and yet basically a gentle and often misunderstood creature. They’re a seriously endangered species, with only about 800 of them living in the forests of the Virunga mountains. These volcanic mountains are located in the Congo and Rwanda, a part of the world where human pressures (habitat loss, illegal hunting, and warfare) present a major challenge to the gorillas’ well being. It’s bad enough if a gorilla is killed by a poacher, but it would be even more senseless if one of them was hit by a vehicle while crossing a road. If only there was a crossing guard…

And in fact, there is. Wildlife cameraman and gorilla expert Gordon Buchanan and a team from BBC Earth were in central Africa when they encountered an entire troop of gorillas who wanted to cross a road. There was enough traffic, even out in the forest, that they were stuck waiting. After about 20 minutes of watching this, Buchanan and the BBC crew decided to take matters into their own hands and stop traffic themselves. But these helpful humans weren’t the ones serving as the gorillas’ crossing guard. That role belonged to the troop’s “silverback.”

A troop of gorillas is typically led by one adult male who’s generally over the age of 12. He’s known as a “silverback” because of the distinctive patch of silvery white hair that a male gorilla usually has by that age. This troop’s silverback now made his way to the middle of the road — Buchanan said, “Now there you go, that’s confidence for you.” The magnificent ape stayed in place while the entire troop crossed to the other side. “Despite that there’s a road running through it, this is still his jungle.”

Check out the video and let us know what you thought of this simian crossing guard in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like and share!