By Kelly Richman-Abdou on February 19, 2018

Year after year, we are awe-struck by the Natural History Museum‘s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Showcasing striking scenes of nature, the contest attracts photography fans and animal lovers alike. While most of 2017’s winning entries were selected by a panel of judges, members of the public were also invited to voice their opinions. The people have spoken, naming  Jo-Anne McArthur‘s touching shot of Pikin, a young gorilla, and Appolinaire Ndohoudou, her compassionate caretaker, as the People’s Choice.

Like many primates in Cameroon, Pikin had been captured by poachers for her meat. Fortunately, she was heroically rescued by Ape Action Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of great apes. While at Ape Action Africa’s sanctuary, she met and fell in love with rescuer Appolinaire Ndohoudou. As a refugee from Chad, Ndohoudou was able to make special connections with primates like Pikin, who had also narrowly escaped danger. “When Pikin arrived I saw that she was very clever,” Ndohoudou explains. “She really loved me and I loved her.”

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