We are delighted to bring you news of Joshi, one of our Howletts gorillas, and his epic journey back to the wild. Joshi, a 30-stone, 13-year-old male born at Howletts to parents Kijo and Shumba, was transferred to Congo as part of the Back To The Wild initiative.
Western lowland gorilla, Joshi, arrives in Congo
Upon landing in Congo, Joshi was transferred to Lesio-Louna Reserve, where The Aspinall Foundation have worked to protect gorillas since 1989. He will now spend a few months acclimatising to his new environment, weather and diet in a custom-built habituation area. Then Joshi will move to the next stage of his rewilding, which will see him living wild and free in the forests, as his ancestors would.
The gorilla protection project
At the Lesio-Louna Reserve, the western lowland gorilla had been completely eradicated due to hunting. By partnering with the Ministry of the Environment and Forest in Congo, The Aspinall Foundation has gradually reintroduced the species into the forests as part of their Gorilla Protection Project. Many of the gorillas now living on the Reserve were born in the UK at Howletts Wild Animal Park and their sister park, Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve.
Orphaned western lowland gorilla, Boumassa, rescued by The Aspinall Foundation in Congo
This dense wild forest is a crucial habitat for gorillas, who are classed as critically endangered, and whose population has dropped by an estimated 60% in just 25 years.
Building on decades of succcess
The Aspinall Foundation is proud of its long history of rewilding gorillas. Despite many saying it was impossible, the foundation has, for over 30 years, been successfully reintroducing over 70 gorillas into the wild, with over 30 births to released animals. Not only are we responsible for the world’s first gorilla reintroductions, but also the added conservation value includes the protection of the whole reintroduction site.
Help Joshi take his next steps to freedom
Releasing a gorilla into the wild is not easy or without cost. As Joshi gets used to his new surroundings, he will need constant monitoring, veterinary help and supplementary food.
Western lowland gorilla, Joshi, prepares for life in the wild
Your donation today can go towards Joshi’s care and help to give him a future; living free as all animals should.