Two female western lowland gorillas are embarking on an amazing journey. Born at ZooParc de Beauval the sisters, Mayombe (12) and Kuimba (9), are leaving France for The Aspinall Foundation’s leading edge Gorilla Protection Project in the Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon.
This is an exciting new collaboration between The Aspinall Foundation and Beauval. We have worked together before when two Javan langurs joined a group from Port Lympne to journey to a new life in Java in December 2016, but this will be the first time gorillas born in France are repatriated to Africa. Beauval Nature is an experienced conservation organisation that manages and supports 47 conservation programs around the world and 30 research programmes.
The two gorillas have already undergone some basic preparations at the zoo for this incredible transition to a life in the wild. This has mainly involved a gradual change to their diet to one closer to the native fruit and vegetables found in Gabon. Mayombe and Kuimba will be accompanied on their journey by senior conservation officials from the zoo, a vet, and their dedicated keeper.
At The Aspinall Foundation we are thrilled to receive the two young gorillas into our programme. Based on our experience of gorilla introductions they will initially be released onto a habituation island where they will have time to acclimatise, and where, in a few weeks, they will be joined by a male gorilla from our group at Howletts. When they are ready they will then be given access to the mainland where they will be able to live in complete freedom.
As they leave the country of their birth, and travel to the country of their ancestors, we wish them a safe journey. At The Aspinall Foundation we are delighted to be able to welcome them to their new home, and look forward to sharing their story as they adapt to life in the wild.