Touching reunion after a long separation
A clear display of “gorilla joy” was seen by keepers at a safari park in Wiltshire as two brothers were reunited after more than two years apart.Kesho, and his younger brother Alf, were brought back together to live in a new Gorilla Colony at Longleat Safari Park. They have also been joined by a third brother, six-year-old Evindi.
The brothers were born at Dublin Zoo but separated when Kesho, a 13-year-old western lowland silverback, was moved to London Zoo to be part of a breeding programme.Longleat keeper, Mark Tye, said: “The keepers from Dublin weren’t entirely sure the brothers would even know each other, but the moment they met you could just see the recognition in their eyes.”
Mr Tye added: “We had been slightly concerned how they would react to each other and whether the big brother could put up with little Alf’s playfulness. However they have formed a really tight bond in just a few weeks and Kesho is actually incredibly tolerant; allowing both Alf and six-year-old Evindi to jump all over him.”
Ian Redmond OBE, the chairman of the Ape Alliance and a conservationist with 30 years mountain gorilla experience, said the pictures display “self-evident joy”.
“What you’re seeing is exactly what you think you’re seeing,” he said. “Two intelligent social mammals, who were separate, are pleased to see each other again and play together. It is gorilla joy, being reunited with someone you used to have good times with and now you can again, so it’s gorilla happiness.”