Among its many efforts to promote wildlife conservation in the last three decades, the Aspinall Foundation rescues orphaned gorillas, raises them, and then reintroduces them to the wild. Damian Aspinall now runs the foundation that his father John established and he also works with the orphaned gorillas.
One of the gorillas Damian helped raise was a male lowland gorilla named Kwibi. When this young gorilla turned five, he was taken to Gabon, in west-central Africa, and released into the forest. Damian always wanted to see Kwibi again, though. And five years after he was released to the wild, Damian went to Gabon to find him. The gorilla, now 10 years old and bigger and stronger, had a reputation for ferocity. He attacked the last two people who crossed paths with him. Liz Pearson, head of the foundation’s gorilla projected said, “He can be such a love and a sweetheart but then you just don’t know what can happen.”
As Damian recalled, “I was really determined to see him. I got in the boat with my brother and we went up and down the river for several hours. And I have this call for gorillas. And I was calling and turned around the corner and there was this magnificent now ten year-old gorilla and he hadn’t seen me for five years. But he heard my voice and came to the edge of the river.” Damian got out of the boat, climbed onto the river bank and sat down right next to Kwibi. “As I clambered over the top, I was a little concerned. But the moment I heard his deep love grumbling purr, I knew I was okay. He looked into my eyes with such intensity and such love and it was an incredible experience for me. We just sat there together, sort of drunk on each other. He embraced me like a long lost friend and it was just beautiful.”
We’ve posted the video about this emotional reunion below and would love to hear your reaction in the comments at Facebook. Be sure to like and share!