A+ for Gorilla School

This just in from Chief Sister Officer. Excerpt is from Aqua Vita Films:

“In the African jungle, conservationist Damian Aspinall searches for Kwibi, a lowland gorilla he hasn’t seen for 5 years. Kwibi grew up with Damian at his Howletts Wild Animal Park in England. When he was five, he was released into the forests of Gabon, West Africa as part of conservation programme to re-introduce gorillas back into the wild. Now Kwibi’s 10 years old, much bigger and stronger. Will Damian find him? Will Kwibi attack him?”

What a remarkable encounter. Want to know more? You can adopt a Gorilla School baby here.



  1. very touching…

  2. A truly touching and heartfelt moment – for them both, it seems.

  3. gorilla hugs!

  4. This is incredible and beautiful~~I am in tears.

  5. That was absolutely amazing and–oh, how odd. I seem to have a speck of dust in my eye. Those darn allergies…

  6. Oh man. I was already emotional today and I am all to pieces. It’s very beautiful but it hurts to wonder how much Kwibi understands about their separation and if it pains him to part from his friend. It’s probably good to know that his papa figure cares enough to find him again. (Flinging myself onto bed in near hysterics.)

  7. tristabelle says:

    also in tears! this is unbelievable.

  8. Christian the Lion is smiling somewhere.

  9. Queen of Dork says:

    Wow. It turned out great but I think I myself would have been really, really, really scared! But I’m just a big chicken. But, gosh. That would have been scary to me. I’m glad all was well! 🙂

  10. I thought the same as Holly- I wonder if the gorilla feels pain at their separation. I hope he got lots of gorilla cuddles from his friends afterward.

  11. Biscuit Tin says:

    Can you imagine the gorilla’s surprise when he heard his name called? He must have been all, “The hell?! Did you guys hear that?”

  12. Lindsay says:

    AWWWWWW. Omg why would be just be like “sup” then LEAVE again?!?! Sad 😦

  13. I saw this last night elsewhere on the internets. The part where Kwibi is holding on to Damian from behind and staring over his shoulder wrecked me to tears. Look at Kwibi’s eyes.

  14. biscuithead says:

    Got something in my eye.

  15. Reminds me of the Christian the Lion reunion:

  16. The reunion, already so touching, was made even more so by the fact the gorilla clearly was intelligent enough to miss and yearn for the guy. The way Kwibi held onto him, and the soft awareness in his face…so like a human. I don’t know how that guy was just able to get up and return to the canoe. I would’ve stayed the night, allowed to or not.

  17. HuntSnipes says:

    One of the best items ever to appear on this site.

  18. 😥

  19. The first time I saw this the other day, man, I was in tears. SO sweet, yet so sad as well.
    I still get teary eyed after watching this for who knows how many more times lol.

  20. Wow. The way Kwibi clung to him was unbelievable. I can’t get over the hugs and the fact that Kwibi stayed nearby all night. So beautiful but also a little heartbreaking. Just an amazing video. Thanks for posting.

  21. For some silly reason, I thought I would be the only sap crying. This was such a remarkable video! I don’t know how this man could have left that gorilla after that reunion; I don’t think I’d be able to do it.


  23. Tears in my eyes also. The yearning in Kwibi’s face, the deep emotion..
    These animals are so like us.

  24. wannadance says:

    actually sobbing and feeling strong emotions in my heart. i couldn’t have left him, him with that lovely tender face.

    waaaaaaa. that is one animal one could put in a room with a pc and he would write leonard cohen songs…

    the lion one was also wonderful esp. when the lion wanted the men to meet the family.

  25. jennifer says:

    Oh dear goodness me, I am weeping as I watch this remarkable story. I would have got the sleeping bag and just slept there!

  26. wannadance says:

    take it back. the lion one caused sobbing too. PMS?? oh, wait, i am sixty eight..no..just wonderful interspecies love and for some reason it gives me hope.

  27. Noodles says:

    Poor Kwibi. He didn’t want to let go…

  28. prinbsn says:

    What a beautiful face on Kwibi, and what touching affection he had for Damian. But my major reaction is sadness; I too wonder how Kwibi can handle the fact of this beloved human showing up and giving him a few moments (OK, it may have been an hour or so, but not terribly long) then taking off again. I would think he’d feel rejected, unable to understand that this person can’t stay with him as he’d like him to.

    Reminds me of a much sadder tale I heard recently on NPR about a chimp raised from birth by two psychologists as a study in their home, then (after she became big enough to be dangerous to them) misguidedly dumped into a “reintroduction to the wild” program where she languished and eventually died (likely killed by poachers or other chimps), completely heartbroken and unable to fathom that her beloved humans wouldn’t stay with her. Having been raised like a human child, she would have been much happier somewhere around humans (even in a zoo). At least Kwibi was basically a wild gorilla and had a life in the wild to return to after Damian left.

  29. I want to be hugged by a gorilla. How cool to have one hug your back like that and become so attached to you.

    What a sweet fellow (<-the gorilla, but Damian too).

  30. OMG, I am in tears…

  31. Saw this and it gutted me. I didn’t want him to ever leave that embrace. Beautiful stuff!

  32. platedlizard says:

    While it’s sad that he misses his friend, his life is not sad. He has at least three wives that I could see and a couple of kiddos, which is only right and proper for a male gorilla. He lives in the wild in an area that is protected from poachers, and looks quite healthy. Gorillas and other apes are much better off in the wild with their own families then living with a human… there have been some very sad cases where a chimp or gorilla has attacked their human families and friends and the ape was shot or put down, one case the chimp had been taking anti-depressants prior to the attack. Life in captivity (outside of a well-run zoo or sanctuary) is not very good for apes at all. Kwibi looks like he is doing well, and I’m sure that he’s happy.

  33. Hon Glad says:

    I didst pipe mine een copiously.

  34. oowh, I can’t stop crying! 🙂

  35. Mary (the first) says:

    snf Also got teary.. “drunk on each other” OMG. snf snf.

  36. Yonathan says:

    This is so beautiful. 🙂

  37. Bawwww!

  38. I join everybody here in a river of tears of joy. That was beyond beautiful *sniffles* 🙂

  39. Poohbear says:


  40. Yeah, I am absolutely bawling away. That lion video is amazing too.

  41. This just shows how we are so similar to apes and it saddens me how cruel people are towards these magnificent animals. I really hope that the primate experimentation will be banned in the future.

  42. Lucy's Mommeh says:

    wow, just….wow…I don’t get teary eyed very easily, but this did it to me. Thanks for that post. It was teh awesome.

  43. Rachael says:

    I’m a big mush on my best day but that vid just pushed me over the edge into blubbery tears. My heart hurts from how beautiful that relationship is. Introducing his human to his family, hugging him, following him and staying nearby all night… it’s just too much. I would not have been able to tear myself away.

    I love seeing the lion vid again too. ♥♥♥♥♥

  44. I cant believe the power of a simple video that can reduce me to a blubbering mess in less than 5 minutes.
    The hug just killed me….too much.

  45. Imagine if you took your 4-year-old child and dropped him off in the jungle. He somehow managed to survive 10 years, made friends, etc., even though he wasn’t raised to be wild. And then one day, you show up in the jungle: “OMG, DAD! It’s you! I thought I was stuck here forever! Hey, wait here, I’ll get my friends. They can come back with us! Oh, look, that guy has raisins! I’ll grab us a few…uh, Dad, wait, where…where are you going! Wait for us!! DAAAAAAAAAAAAD!” How very sad for the gorilla.

  46. weep,weep,weep,sniffle,sniffle,sniffle….repeat

  47. Can they put Whitney’s I will allways love you on the Kwibi video?
    Can’t really type now cause laptop is filled with tears….

  48. Amazing, absolutely amazing! And yes, tears in my eyes. That would be such a remarkable thing. I feel sorry for both of them.

  49. Heather and the Boston Terriers says:

    OK, I just watched the lion video. Someone help me, I am just crying my stinking head off! My heart just got plucked out.

    All I kept thinking was that this must be what it feels like when you die and get re-united with your pets. We WILL meet again.

    Someone stop the tears. I loved the video, but who someone help me stop the tears!
    My female Boston Terrier is whimpering too because she wants to jump on my lap and see what I am crying about…She is concerned. I will pat her on her wee head and tell her Mommy is OK. 🙂

    I am moved beyond words.

  50. (falls over sobbing)

  51. That was so beautiful! The sadness in the gorillas eyes when he left! The way he clung to him! I can not stop tearing up over the absolute sweetness of this story!

  52. I don’t think I could have left the gorilla. So many people come and go in life, but animals seem to love you forever and unconditionally.

  53. Cat Lover says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Oh, why can’t humans learn to live in peace with each other as this beauiful wild animal does with this man?

  54. blair knight says:

    that is amazing that the gorilla remembered him. such a sweet moment!

  55. Just want to reply to some of the comments saying how sad this must have mad Kwibi: While I’m sure he was sad to see Damien go (gorillas experience a full, complex range of emotions), Damien was NOT being cruel by leaving him. These people are scientists, who know that no matter how much they & the gorillas might get attached to each other, the best thing for these animals is to live “naturally” – with as little human interaction as possible. Kwibi was raised in captivity, yes, but that probably means he was rescued from a dangerous environment as a little baby, with no mother to care for him. Raising abandoned or endangered baby animals in a captive environment and then releasing them into the wild is NOT the same as dropping your 4-yr-old off at the mall and driving away. The ultimate goal of projects like these is protect and preserve animals as best they can without “spoiling” their wildness. It can be very hard for both the humans and animals involved to balance this – as you can clearly see from Damien’s attachment to Kwibi. But please don’t say that it’s mean or sad for him to have visited Kwibi and then left. It totally undermines the work this wonderful man has done. Just enjoy this video as evidence of how remarkable these beautiful animals are.

  56. I thought that was very sad, too. I can’t stop thinking about him following along on the river. Why couldn’t he stay with Kwibi for a while? Or live nearby? So so sad

  57. Reunions such as this are so touchingly heartbreaking!

    I too wonder what Kwibi thought, happy that he has wives and family, sad that his long lost friend reappears for only a short while.

    I hope this reunion is one of many to come!

  58. Oh, great! I have to go run errands and my makeup is running down my face. Worth it, though.

  59. What an amazing video. Yeah, I totally cried…

  60. So very sweet, I’m choking down some tears here too.

    To those who dismiss animals as not having “souls”, take one look at something like this (or Christian the Lion) and tell me they don’t feel emotions.

  61. I am in awe of people who dedicate their lives to helping animals. They define the word “hero” for me.

  62. LovesDogs says:

    Beautiful Kwibi. Booooo-hoooooo.

  63. Rooanne says:


  64. Wonderful video but it is worth remembering that this chap’s father Guy Aspinall was actually killed by a tiger in his wildlife zoo, where this guy grew up.

  65. yeah….crying.

  66. Agent 99 says:

    Crying here, too. The power of nature and love is simply awesome.

  67. I love the bit where he first holds him at arm’s length; it’s like, ” whoa, dude….it’s been ..like….ages…..Hey! Honey, come over here…! Yeah, bring the others! This is that dude I was telling you about! yeah… i know he’s not so furry, but he’s cool….hey kids! ”

    Seriously though, amazing, I loved this. What a nice guy, and What amazing animals they are.

  68. Balthesia says:

    Had a stressful day today. I’ve just come home from work (UK) and watched this. I’m in tears, yet feeling strangely happy…

  69. flutterbye says:

    Awed silent except for tears falling……

  70. kokobutterbuns says:

    this video should have a “mascara alert” warning. I am now reduced to looking like a raccoon.

  71. This made me cry and my husband was teasing me…(he thought it was amazing too though). I just love stories like this as it shows the depth of intelligence and emotions animals have.

  72. I don’t think I could have made myself leave Kwibi’s hug. So sweet!

  73. Simply beautiful.

  74. Debbieln60 says:


  75. mrtsmom says:

    I’m with wannadance. Besides being incredibly beautiful, it somehow gives me hope.

  76. I am in tears, too. Their relationship is so beautiful. I have loved gorillas ever since I saw the movie “Gorillas in the Mist” as a child, and I wanted to be just like Diane Fossey when I grew up:) What beautiful souls they have…I couldn’t rewatch the Christian the Lion vid, I just couldn’t. I would be crying for the rest of the night, but it is beautiful too.

  77. Yitzysmommie says:

    Yup, cried here, too.
    How wonderful to see the joy in both their faces with the reunion.

  78. I am in tears, also! Very, very touching!

  79. SOB! I actually thought, while he was sitting there with him, “Can’t he just move to the jungle with him?” I could never leave him again!

  80. Sinamon says:

    well, i’m ruined for the rest of the day/week.

    christian the lion kills me everytime as well.

  81. Ludivine says:

    Sorry for being the lone (I think) sourpuss here, but I really dislike these videos about humans wanting to re-unite with their long lost wildlife friends. It’s sheer egotism on the part of human beings, wanting to be appreciated, wanting the cameras to see them get along with a dangerous animal, I can’t say I liked it. Yes, the gorilla-human bond was touching. But no, I don’t think people should go willy-nilly into the wilderness to find their long-lost pals, camera crew and sound people behind. I used to work in TV, I know how people come up with all sorts of ploys to “sell” a show.

  82. Ludivine,

    Well said.

  83. Valerie Blackwood: Although several Howletts zookeepers have been injuried or killed by the animals, John Aspinall died of cancer, not from a tiger attack.

  84. gravyboat says:

    What magnificent creatures!

  85. Ruffian9 says:

    Yup. Crying over her……

  86. Ruffian9 says:

    Yup. Crying over here……

  87. Carol A. Cashes says:

    Ludivine: I agree to a point, but also part of the “scientific” process is showing the intelligence and the ability to show real and valid affection from these animals in the hopes of renewing efforts to save them. Hopefully, someone who might just think of it as a “dumb animal” (and we know they’re going to hell!), might realize it’s a completely sentient being and not involve themselves in trafficking, killing, or any other activity that might endanger them further. This was not shown on American Idol, or some other highly riated television show ( I don’t think…)

  88. This seems cruel to me. Poor Kwibi.

  89. Carol makes a good point, as far as the scientific study of animals goes there are definitely things to be learned from that, and a video like that can work wonders towards raising awareness about animals.

  90. Ludivine says:

    Yeah, I guess the scientific study aspect is important, and I support this show if only for the reason that it convinces otherwise unsympathetic people to have more respect for animals. There’s a lot of cruelty done to monkeys/gorillas for testing, and I think more people would protest if they saw the obvious signs of intelligence and emotion here.

    But! That said, I still think it mildly selfish of humans to call up on their wild animal friends. Unlike humans, they can’t politely decline and face possible death if they bring any harm to the uninvited guests.

  91. oh my god. im like, sobbing.

  92. I’m not sure why this seems cruel to anyone. He’s not a domesticated gorilla. This man helped raise him and release him into the wild. Cruel would have been to have kept Kwibi as a pet for the rest of his life. You can’t spend 5 years with such a gorgeous animal and not want to see him again.

    And I’m not crying, I just have really bad allergies this time of year.

  93. Snurfles says:

    Gads, I am SO sick of the nuffers on this site! This man does incredible work and this video can only HELP his cause. Please, stop coming on this site and ruining my enjoyment of these videos and the POSITIVE comments that others share.

  94. PsychoDad says:

    I dunno — if you look at video of other human/gorilla encounters, it seems a lot the same — regarding ‘longing, soulful expressions’, I seem to have heard that people in the past have had problems from misreading simian body language — like returning that big, happy smile — I’m much more impressed with the lion video.

    Sorry, snurfies, if telling the truth hurts your feelings….

  95. Lauralyloo says:

    Guh! Crying so much, that was so beautiful *sniff*