The Aspinall Foundation, a world leading conservation charity based in Kent, has announced the release of a young family of gorillas, into the forests of Gabon, where they can finally live wild and free.
The group, now enjoying their first explorations into the wilderness of the Batéké Plateau National Park, comprises impressive male silverback, Rapha and two females, Dikélé and Mbwambe. Both Rapha and Dikélé were orphans, rescued by The Aspinall Foundation as infants, after their parents were slaughtered by poachers. Mbwambe, was born at the Foundation’s Port Lympne Reserve in Kent.
In a trail blazing move, the conservation charity, headed by Damian Aspinall, introduced the young gorillas to each other back in 2016, hoping that they would soon bond and form a family group.In 2017, the group were airlifted from their introduction sanctuary to the conservation charity’s Gorilla Island, where they have been monitored by the charity’s team of experts.
Damian Aspinall said: ‘It’s been quite a journey for this group of gorillas, from their initial introductions, to moving onto Gorilla Island – which has been their home for the last year or so, to now experiencing their first tastes of real freedom on the mainland. The group has bonded well and Mbwambe and Dikélé are particularly close, whilst Rapha has matured into a strong silverback and takes his responsibilities as protector and head of the group very seriously.’
Last month, after careful assessment, the group was given access to the mainland which will become their forever home.
Damian added: ‘This is another great success story for The Aspinall Foundation. Finally, these wonderful animals can enjoy a life in the wild, free at last.’
Watch Rapha’s reaction to freedom here.
To find out more about the vital conservation work of The Aspinall Foundation, please visit www.aspinallfoundation.org