The Aspinall Foundation has been reintroducing captive gorillas back into the wild over the past 10 years. The gorillas are brought to the foundation’s million acre reserves in West Africa from England’s Howletts Wild Animal Park. There they are set free back into the wild jungles so they have a chance to live their lives as nature intended.
Kwibi, a lowland gorilla, had been brought up at the park by a conservationist named Damian Aspinall. After 5 years in England the gorilla was brought to the West African country of Gabon where he could live the rest of his life in the wild. Since Kwibi’s release five years ago he had only come into contact with several humans, and each time he acted aggressive towards them. With that in mind, Damian set out with his brother, determined to find his old friend.
They traveled up and down a river that cut through the jungle for a few hours, calling out for him along the way. When they rounded a river bend, Kwibi appeared at the edge of the river, full grown and healthy as ever. Damian’s crew were prepared for the worst and had food ready to throw if anything went bad. But they wouldn’t need to use it because as soon as Damian approached him, Kwibi let out a deep rumbling gurgle that signified his love for his old friend.
The two sat close together, looking deep into each others eyes, silently sharing a moment and appreciating all that they’d experienced together. Kwibi pulled Damian in for a hug and after that his girlfriend and family started to come forth, feeling safe enough to meet the strange new man. There was much love and affection shown between them and Kwibi held his old friend close in his arms, not wanting to let go. Once Damian managed to get back into the boat so the crew could leave for camp, Kwibi followed them the whole way back, and set up his own camp on the opposite side of the river. All night long he called out for his old friend. Early the next morning Damian went for a swim in the river and Kwibi immediately appeared on the bank. The love between the two is beyond words or belief. They truly shared an unbreakable bond and will hold each other in their hearts forever.
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