With so many reasons for hope filling my files, I lost sight of this one for more than two years. That was when my friend Glenda sent me the link. In the intervening months, the film of Damian Aspinall’s encounter with a wild gorilla has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times.
A lowland gorilla called Kwibi spent his first five years in Aspinall’s Howletts Wild Animal Park in England. The park has made a special commitment to conserving this critically endangered species and has built special habitat to re-create, as nearly as possible, their natural environment.
Thanks to Howletts’ breeding program, they have had good success establishing family groups of these magnificent apes. Although most captive animals spend their entire lives in controlled environments, the park has been able to successfully reintegrate some of them into the wild in the Congo and Gabon.
Five years after releasing Kwibi in a Gabon forest, Aspinall traveled in search of him. He could not predict how the powerful, adult male would react to him.
Kwibi remembered, and the love between him and Aspinall is a powerful reminder of the gifts our fellow creatures can offer to us when we treat them with care and respect.