Conservation history has just been made as The Aspinall Foundation announced the first ever birth to captive-born gorillas in the wild, part of the Aspinall Foundation's ground-breaking gorilla reintroduction project in the Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon.
The baby western lowland gorilla was born to mother Mayombe (13) and father Djongo (15). The newborn is being regularly monitored by rangers and Mayombe is proving to be a very protective first-time mother.
Mayombe with her baby
Father Djongo was born at Port Lympne Reserve in Kent before returning to the wild in Gabon in 2013. He travelled from the UK with his father Djala, a wild-born orphan who lost his family to poachers and endured mental and physical abuse at the hands of the people who took him. He was rescued by The Aspinall Foundation in 1986.
Father, Djongo stands protectively in front of mother, Mayombe and baby
Mother Mayombe was born at ZooParc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan, France, and repatriated to Gabon in 2019 through a collaboration between The Aspinall Foundation and Beauval.
Mayombe holds her baby close in the dense vegetation of their island home
Damian Aspinall, Chairman, said: “This is a pivotal moment for wildlife conservation and a hugely emotional day for our entire team. This birth symbolises the foundation of our entire Gorilla Protection Project.
“35 years ago, our work saved Djongo’s father and allowed that family lineage to continue after devastating loss. The Aspinall Foundation enabled father and son to be repatriated together to Gabon.
“To now see Djongo’s offspring born in freedom, the next generation of this critically endangered species given a full life in the wild, free from human persecution, is a powerful image in a project that has come full circle.”