Girl Meets Gorillas She Was Raised Up With After 12 Years And Their Reactions Are Heartbreaking
Usually, we don’t have a lot of contact with wild animals. If you’re not a pet owner or live on a farm, the animals you get to see on a regular basis might be birds, your neighbor’s dogs or your friend’s cat. On the other hand, some people’s way of living permits them to get to know so many different species up close.
However, one girl had an incredible chance to grow up alongside gorillas. Her name is Tansy Aspinall and she got to experience something few people on earth had a chance to feel. She decided to come back to the facility in the hope that her huge animals will recognize her. When she finally saw them again, something incredible happened. Read on to reveal Tansy’s beautiful story and to learn how their meeting unfolded.
1. Wild Baby
Tansy Aspinall didn’t really have an ordinary childhood. When she was a kid, her parents owned and operated a facility that rehabilitated captive gorillas. The goal of the facility is to one day get the gorillas back to their West African homeland.
As you can imagine, Tansy’s youngest years passed in such a different manner than from most of her friends. She had fulfilled days in the facility with her gorilla friends, and surely, to her, the world seemed like a perfect place.
2. Family Background
However, Tansy had the opportunity to live with gorillas because of her parents. Her father, Damian Aspinall, the founder of the facility, lived to rehabilitate captive gorillas and help them lead a better life once they are released back to the wild.
Damian had a very specific way of approaching gorillas. He insisted that all his staff, and his daughter as well, would interact closely with the wild animals. Although this method worked pretty fine for most of the time, in the 80s and 90s 5 employees were accidentally killed by the animals because of a misunderstood communication.
3. Growing Up With Apes
Despite these accidental attacks that ended fatally, gorillas in the Aspinall’s facility were quite calm. Most of the encounters and interactions with gorillas Damian had were very touching and life-changing.
Tansy spent a lot of time with gorillas when she was still a toddler. However, although she was clumsy and didn’t have coordinated movements, gorillas realized that she was only a vulnerable kid and bonded closely with her.
4. Ten Gorillas Released Into The Wild
When Aspinall’s gorilla troop (made of 10 gorillas) were rehabilitated, it was finally the time for them to go back into the wild. Now they had to be released into the jungles of Gabon.
Luckily for the gorillas, before being released, they were kept on a river island for a couple of months for them to learn to defend themselves in the wildlife.
When the day for the gorillas to leave finally came, Tansy and her father were sad to see them nervously walk away into a jungle they didn’t recognize anymore.
They eventually disappeared in the jungle and started leading new lives in the surrounding they deserved a long time ago.
6. Tansy Growing Up
Tansy grew up to be a beautiful woman. Now that she turned 25, she wished to meet her childhood friends. So, she and her father decided to go to Gabon where they would reunite with the gorillas that they raised for such a long time.
The two gorillas Tansy bonded the most with were named Djalta and Bimms, and 12 years have passed since Tansy last saw them. However, her and her father Damian didn’t expect that something else might happen on their journey to Gabon.
7. The Entire Gorilla Family Released
Damian Aspinall has previously returned over 80 gorillas to the wild, and he had experience with returning gorillas to their homeland, but these two gorillas were a bit particular.
They belonged to a big family group that was released altogether. This was a big experiment in animal rehabilitation, which is why the results of their reintroduction to the wildlife weren’t really easy to forecast.
8. Visiting Gabon
So, Tansy decided to travel into Gabon to meet two gorillas she hoped still remembered her. She was anxious to find out what way will her childhood friends reacted.
She came to the Gabon rainforest by boat. When she finally arrived deep in the jungle, she was ready to meet the gorillas. However, what she didn’t know, is that she was about to reveal something that she will never forget.
9. Seeing Her Lifelong Friends
It was more than 12 years that Tansy haven’t seen her friends. Now she was a bit concerned about if they will recognize her, and if they will have a good reaction to her.
However, she has a feeling that everything was going to be alright and she strongly believed everything will go just the way it should. But little did she know that encountering gorillas wasn’t going to be the only thing she will remember Gabon for.
10. Emotional Meeting
When Tansy came deep to the jungle, her father helped her find the gorillas more easily. They headed towards the place the gorillas were hanging out They finally saw them.
Djalta and Bimms remembered her and ran to meet her. They hugged her, jumped around her and started becoming a bit vocal to express their excitement. Tansy was so happy and she could have stayed in there forever. However, she had to leave, and when she was, it looked like the gorillas were almost begging Tansy not to leave.
11. Going Home
Although she loved meeting her childhood friends, Tansy and her father couldn’t stay forever in the jungle of Gabon. After a couple of days, Tansy had to say goodbye to her friends Djalta and Bimms.
She feared that she might not see them again. In the end, you never know what to expect in the wildlife. But, that’s not the end to the story about Tansy and her ape friends.
12. Bad News
Releasing an entire family of apes back in their natural habitat all at once carried enormous risks. Damian was well aware of it. These gorillas didn’t spend their entire life in the Gabonese homeland so there might be plenty of things that can hold risks for them.
For instance, eating some poisonous fruit could affect their health or they could catch a jungle disease they weren’t prepared for. But no one could forecast the bad news that Tansy was about to get just a couple of months after the reunion.
13. Gorillas Missing
The Gibon reserve Djalta and Bimms lived in were actually taken care by a group of people that monitored what happened in the jungles. They could even trace animals throughout radio transmitters.
That’s how they have discovered terrible news. The two female gorillas were missing. First, they couldn’t find them, but after a couple of days, they found their bodies.
14. Wild Animal Attack
When they heard the terrible news Tansy and her father were heartbroken. They couldn’t believe that they maybe grabbed the last chance to meet Tansy’s chilhood friends.
At first, they believe that gorillas were attacked by a leopard – one of the only animals that could take down a fully-grown gorilla. But there were no signs of bites or similar wounds. So then, a leopard couldn’t be the culprit.
15. More Gorillas Killed
Both gorillas had been battered and beaten in a very forceful way. Most likely the culprit of these deaths was actually another Gorilla.
Unfortunately, the “killer” gorilla didn’t stop there. Soon after, more gorillas from the same family group were found dead. Another three gorillas were dead, and a fourth one was missing.
16. The Entire Family Is Gone
They soon found out that the victims of the gorilla rage were Djalta’s five wives as well as a small baby named Akou.
The gorillas that died during the attacks were named: Tamki, aged 25, Kishi, 16, Mumba, 27, Kibi, 22 and Akou, three. FouFou, 22, the missing wife.
Although it was quite clear that the killer was another gorilla, now everyone wanted to know about who precisely is responsible for everything that occurred. They wanted to know if it was a poacher that broke into the reserve.
Speculations also arose because some people believed that this could be done by someone wanting to sabotage the Aspinall’s conservation project.
18. The Guilty
However, it looked like Tansy and her father were the ones that knew the truth about the killer. Apparently, it was a silverback gorilla named Boumanga, one of the gorillas Aspinall’s facility rescued from cruel captivity.
Through no fault of his own, Boumanga wasn’t taken care of enough and as a result of being beaten as a baby, hung upside and being kept in a shed, he became psychotic. Tansy and her father are sure that it was his mental damage that incited him to go after gorillas.
19. The Punishment
Although it is not something he chose to be, Boumanga is a dangerous gorilla that could put the jungle out of balance. That’s why they are looking for a proof to realize if he is the real killer or no.
If Boumanga is super unpredictable and violent, he might have to be put down. On the other hand, if he is not that violent, then they might have to remove him to some remote corner of the reserve.
20. Protecting Gorillas
It was a really tough thing for Tansy and her father. Just when they realized how much their gorilla friends were happy to see them, it seems like everything fell apart. Probably, Tansy’s father will rethink releasing an entire family group at once.
The facility should be looking for new ways to ensure the gorillas are safe when they come back to their homeland. And we’re sure Damian and Tansy will do their best to provide these gorillas a best life they deserve.