Family of gorillas to be released in Gabon by Aspinall Foundation
Kent conservationists are hoping to be the first in the
world to release an entire family of gorillas into the wild.
The Aspinall Foundation is aiming to release record numbers of
animals into their natural habitats over the next year.
Among those is a family of 11 western lowland gorillas - being
sent to the charity’s flagship project in Congo and Gabon.
The charity claims no other conservation organisation in the
world has ever attempted to release a family group.
The mission, planned for early next year, is part of founder
Damian Aspinall's work for the last 12 years with governments
to protect almost a million acres of the countries' ecosystem.
The gorilla family now being prepared for release from is
headed by Djala (pictured above, courtesy Dave Rolfe), a
30-year-old, weighing 200 kilos.
The group, now based at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near
Hythe, comprises his five “wives” and five offspring between
the ages of eight months and six years, all reared in
Djala himself was spectacularly rescued from poachers in Africa
and brought to Port Lympne in the 1990s.
The area where the Aspinall Foundation works in Congo and Gabon
was the first large wilderness area to see gorillas hunted to
Already, between 1996 and 2006, 51 gorillas have been released
by the foundation - 25 in Congo and 26 in Gabon.
These two projects are said to be the only gorilla
reintroduction projects in existence.
As well as the gorillas, the KM Group-supported
Back to the Wild campaign is planning to release six Javan
Gibbons, eight Javan langurs and two bull elephants into protected
areas of the wild.
Damian Aspinall said: “The Aspinall Foundation’s Back To The
Wild initiative is unique and comprises of easily the most
ambitious and wide-ranging reintroductions of endangered species
into the wild ever undertaken anywhere in the world.
“Equally important, it marks the Foundation’s absolute
commitment to intensify the global debate around the role of
wildlife parks and zoos.
"We passionately believe that the days are long gone when it
could be seen as justifiable to keep animals in captivity simply
for the purposes of display or education.”
For more on the Back to the Wild
campaign follow this link.
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