My friend Glenda comes across some of the best animal videos I’ve been able to share on Crossroads. She sent another yesterday, and I’m absolutely enchanted by it. The video has gone viral, for good reason.
Five years ago Damian Aspinall released Kwibi, a five-year-old gorilla, into the Gabon jungle. The conservationist is the son of John Aspinall, founder of The Aspinall Foundation, a charity that manages the Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks in Kent (UK).
The focus of the foundation’s work is ensuring the survival of rare and endangered species throughout the world. Gorilla School, a 12-part series on Animal Planet, highlights the work they do with orphaned gorillas. They train them at Howletts and then introduce them into the million-acre protected wilderness in Gabon.
Recently Damian Aspinall returned to Gabon to visit Kwibi. Though the ten-year-old male was unpredictable, sometimes attacking without warning, Damian was determined to visit his friend. When he called out, the magnificent gorilla appeared.
Damian went on shore, though with some trepidation. Kwibi came to him, and their reunion is caught in the film: “He looked in my eyes with such intensity and such love, and it was an incredible experience. We just sat there together, sort of drunk on each other. He embraced me like a long lost friend.”
When Damian and the film crew continued downriver, Kwibi followed along the bank. That night he hooted to his friend from across the river. The last shot in this trailer for the series shows the face of Kwibi, his eyes full of intelligence and love.
For anyone wanting to contribute to the effort to support these beautiful animals, there are links on the foundation‘s Web site. You can adopt a particular animal and receive updates on the conservation efforts and on your animal.