Introducing His Wife To Gorillas

It’s not your usual sort of family introduction, but it is what Damian Aspinall is all about. After a childhood spent in the wilderness with rare animals, developing unlikely friendships, he took his new wife to meet some of his best friends without knowing what could happen or how will they react to her. The story of their meeting is simply fascinating. 

Who Is Damian Aspinall?

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Damian grew up on the land of Howletts Wild Animal Park. The 700-acre estate was established by his father in Britain and was aimed at preserving the precious wildlife and rare animals of the world. Needless to say, Damian had a more than extraordinary childhood on the estate. 

A Childhood Like No Other

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Unlike other children, Damian spent his free time among animals that were on the brink of extinction. It was quite the privilege to be around them, and he learned a whole lot growing up this way. He had many animal friends, but no animal fascinated him more than one special primate.

The Gorilla Obsession

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Damian seemed to have developed a special affinity for the gorillas. He felt a deep connection to them and was often found hanging around their quarters. Baby gorillas regularly came to the park, saved by Damian’s father. Two of them, named Ima and Djalta, came to hold a special place in Damian's life. 

Saying Goodbye

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

However, Damian also knew that the friendships he made in the park were not to last forever. The animals had to return to their natural habitat as soon as it was safe for them. But his separation from Ima and Djalta hurt him more than any other. Nonetheless, he managed to move on to an exciting stage in his life. 

Moving On

Image Credit: Getty Images/David M. Benett

Image Credit: Getty Images/David M. Benett

Damian never forgot his childhood and his time spent at the park, but he was now an adult and ready to carve a path for himself. He married a woman named Victoria, who knew all about the odd life Damian was used to. But little did she know that she would have to get used to it too. 

Married To The Wild Life

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Damian wanted to share his love for the wilderness with Victoria. He was even ready to tell her about his two gorilla friends. They were a big part of his life, after all. What he soon revealed to her, however, would take the couple on a long journey out into the wilderness. 

Never Ending Friendship

Image Credit: Getty Images/Chris Jackson/For Illustrative Purposes

Image Credit: Getty Images/Chris Jackson/For Illustrative Purposes

Damien never stopped thinking about Ima and Djalta. He knew they were living happily somewhere in the wild, and as much as he wanted to leave them be, he also wanted to see them very badly. This deep desire to see them one more time would give rise to a plan that was to change Victoria’s life. 

Making A Move

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Image Credit: Getty Images/PA Images/Gareth Fuller

Damian finally told Victoria that he wanted to go visit his two old gorilla friends. She was used to his strange behavior, so she wasn’t so surprised, but this time, his plan involved her as well. He wanted to take Victoria with him. But that situation could prove to be a dangerous one. 

The Potential Danger

Image Credit: Getty Images/Avalon/For Illustrative Purposes

Image Credit: Getty Images/Avalon/For Illustrative Purposes

Ima and Djalta knew Damian well, so he wasn't worried that they would attack him when they saw him. However, gorillas can be unpredictable, especially when approached by unknown humans. Damian knew that taking Victoria with him might be risky. But he couldn't resist, and the couple set out on their journey.

Tracking The Gorillas

Image Credit: Getty Images/SOPA Images/For Illustrative Purposes

Image Credit: Getty Images/SOPA Images/For Illustrative Purposes

Damian put together an expert team of trackers, as finding the gorillas in the wild by himself would be close to impossible. Now that the team was in line, they all began the grueling journey through the lush jungle, after which they decided to track the gorillas on a boat. And one piece of technology helped them get on the right track quickly.

Technology Helps

Image Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Aitchison/For Illustrative Purposes

Image Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Aitchison/For Illustrative Purposes

Fortunately, the two gorillas wore GPS locators, which were put on them as a way of monitoring their lives and health. This helped Damian and his team to locate them quickly. Soon, everyone on the boat got quiet so as not to disturb the gorillas that might be just around the corner. And they were closer than anyone could have imagined.

Finally Found

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

The trackers did their job, and they finally spotted the gorillas close to the boat. It was vital that the humans remained calm, not making any sudden moves or noises. Damian began approaching his two old friends, and they recognized him instantly. However, the situation with Victoria was not as good. 

Not Giving Up

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

It looked like the gorillas weren’t ready to accept Victoria, even though she knew exactly how to act around them. It took a long time before one of the gorillas began communicating in a favorable way. It looked like the pair might be able to greet Victoria after all. But the team didn’t want to push their luck that day anymore, so they decided to give it another try the next day. What happened then was a shock to everyone. 

The Final Encounter

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

When Damian, Victoria, and the trackers returned the next day, the gorillas were much friendlier. It looked like they were welcoming back their old friends. Victoria was suddenly an object of affection, and the two gorillas could not get enough of her. Everyone was stunned by the turn of events and by the affection the gorillas were showing to a stranger. And something seemed to have been especially interesting for Ima and Djalta.

The Gorilla And The Hat

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

Image Credit: YouTube/Aspinall Foundation

Victoria was wearing a hat when she met the two gorillas, and for some reason, this object fascinated Ima and Djalta. They took it off from her head, sniffed it, and then placed it back on Victoria. It was a wonderful show of surprise and human features, and it only strengthened the love Damian felt towards these two creatures. 

Victoria was just as enamored with the gorillas as her husband. It is almost impossible not to be when such levels of affection and friendliness are shown to us by animals. Gorillas will always reveal to us our likelihood to them, and we will forever be fascinated with their advanced emotions and behaviors. 

Sources: Aspinall FoundationHappiestAnimal ChannelThe Daily MailThe Animal ClubThe Sun

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