Nine related Western Lowland Gorillas are to be released in Africa. The Gorillas left their home, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent. on Sunday bound for Gabon.
The silverback of the group, Djala, was orphaned in 1982 at six months and taken by poachers to sell to tourists. He was bought by a Frenchman who saw him tied to a post in a village street, he couldn’t think of any other way to rescue him. He lived in private hands France for two years but as he grew bigger it was realised he required professional care. He was donated to the Aspinall Foundation.
Djala has fathered 14 young and given important genetics to captive breeding programs. Now his family unit is being relocated back to Africa.
They will be acclimatised and gradually released into the wild, they will receive extra food while they learn to forage but the hope is that one day the group will be fully self sufficient.
Western Lowland Gorillas are classed as Critical on the Endangered list. This is the first time a full family has been released and they will give important genetic diversity to the wild population.