A moving story of animal sentience and intelligence
Back in 2003, conservationist Damian Aspinall released two gorillas into the wild as part of a wider program to re-introduce the animals to their natural habitats. Djalta and Bimms had lived in captivity at the Howletts wild animal park in England until they were set free in the jungle of Gabon, West Africa.
In the video, Damian, along with his daughter Tansy, decided to pay the pair a visit three years after their release. They searched the riverbanks for hours to find the gorillas, who eventually appeared from behind thick bush. Damian felt nervous and wasn’t sure of the reaction he’d get from the gorillas, but he needn’t have worried. Djalta and Bimms immediately recognized their old friend, and spent time playing with him.
“It was fantastic to see the greeting I got,” said Damian. “I felt such love from them. When they hold you, and ask you to hold them like gorillas do, there’s no greater privilege. Bonding with a gorilla is one of life’s greatest experiences.”
While her Dad was re-aquainting himself with the gorillas he’d said goodbye to three years earlier, Tansy was waiting in the boat. Suddenly, something unexpected happened. Djalta began peering through the trees, looking at Tansy as though he recognized her. But she hadn’t seen the gorillas for twelve long years…could it be true?
What happens next is a moving example of animal intelligence and love between two species!