Damian Aspinall is well-known for his conservationist work with lowland gorillas. For decades, he and his family have worked on increasing the number of gorillas in the wild by raising and releasing them into their natural habitats.
Years after releasing a pair of gorillas, Damian and his wife, Victoria, met up with them in the wild…and the interaction took everyone by surprise.
The two gorillas, named Djalta and Ima, were raised by Damian when they were just small babies at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent.
They were released as fully-grown adults back in 2003.
Damian planned on introducing his wife, Victoria, to the two gorillas. However, they needed to be careful. Western Lowland gorillas can be territorial and shy of humans entering their space.
Even though Djalta and Ima were raised by Damian, there was a possibility that they wouldn’t welcome him into their home.
But, thankfully, when Damian and Victoria approached them, the gentle giants welcomed them with opened arms.
Victoria had never met the pair of apes before, but that didn’t stop them from being curious, affectionate, and playful with her.
It seemed that Ima fell in love with Victoria; he stole her hat, exchanged lots of hugs, and even played with her hair as she laid down in his lap.
It’s touching to see both Ima and Djalta not only remember Damian, but to embrace his wife as part of their family, as well. The emotional intelligence of these incredible creatures is stunning.
The entire encounter is unbelievable, but so sweet to see. As humans, we should do our best to protect these creatures and their homes in the wild!