Damian Aspinall, a multi-millionaire conservationist, took his wife Victoria on a journey into the jungle to meet one of the gorillas he had bred 16 years ago. Astonishing images show Victoria bonding with the gorilla, named Ima, and even sitting with her head resting in the primate’s lap, an experience she considered both “beautiful and humbling.”
[Scroll down for video]
As reported by the Daily Mail, Ima was bred at Damian’s wild animal park, Howletts, located in Kent, England. Four years ago, when Ima was age 12, Ima was released into the wilds of the Gabon jungle in Africa.
Damian and his wife, whom he married last year, journeyed down the Mpassa River to reach the location of the gorillas. Damian greeted Ima first before inviting Victoria over.
Ima came over to Victoria, who is an executive with Burberry, and soon showed her signs of affection, like nuzzling her neck and examining her hair for nits. The gorilla even became curious about Victoria’s baseball cap, taking it from her head and trying it on himself.
After a time, Victoria even took a seat on Ima’s lap. Speaking about the encounter, Victoria said, “Somehow, because we were there on his territory, once I’d gotten over my initial fears, it seemed only natural to curl up in his lap.”
The entire experience was captured on video.
Victoria stated, “I hope that watching these gorillas, happy and free, will inspire those who believe, as we do, that the place for wildlife is in the wild rather than in captivity.”
Damian’s Aspinall Foundation has been working to reintroduce Western Lowland gorillas to their natural habitat after the population experienced significant declines.