For over 20 years, The Aspinall Foundation has been working tirelessly to reintroduce captive gorillas back into the wild. Our dedicated Back to the Wild programme, started in 1987, works with the governments of Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon to make the Batéké Plateau a safe and natural environment for gorillas to live in.
Almost a year ago, our chairman Damian Aspinall and his wife Victoria travelled over 3,000 miles to Gabon to oversee the transfer of a young gorilla group moving from a wildlife sanctuary to our Gorilla Protection Project in the Batéké Plateau National Park. This very special trip also gave them the opportunity to meet up with Djalta and Ima, two male gorillas who previously lived at Howletts and had been released into the wild in 2003.
Damian is renowned for building close relationships with the animals at the parks, and this doesn’t stop when they’re returned to the wild. The video below captures how he interacts with the gorillas, as well as the incredible moment that he introduces Victoria to them for the first time...
The remarkable footage shows just how intelligent and charismatic these creatures are. But sadly, with the threat of poaching and disease, wild population numbers have dropped by 60% in the last 25 years, making these gorillas critically endangered – although recent research suggests numbers have started to improve over the last ten years. This goes to show just how important conservation projects like Back to the Wild are for their survival as a species.
However, the entire project is only possible with your help. So far, your donations have helped us to rescue over 100 orphaned gorillas and reintroduce more than 60 western lowland gorillas back into the wild. Our expert team is working with the local community and government to raise awareness and understanding about conservation and poaching, as well as continually developing release programmes to return more gorillas to protected habitation in the wild.
Please give what you can – your funding will really make a difference and allow us to continue our efforts to keep this majestic species alive. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates, or visit the gorillas currently at Port Lympne Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park.