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The Aspinall Foundation

On Wed 8th February we went to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent to visit their safari park run by the Aspinall Foundation. This was for a surprise trip for my dad's 70th birthday, who had no clue. He also had no clue about my present for him, adoption of an gorilla as well as having a gorilla experience.

The interesting aspect to Aspinall Foundation is their purpose of being a animal conversation charity, with the aim of halting the extinction of rare and endangered species and return them to the wild where possible.

It started off in the early 70s when founder John Aspinall dreamt of reintroducing gorillas bred at Howletts and Port Lympne back to the wild. Now his son Damian runs the foundation, and over the past few years they have released 8 black rhino, 49 Javan langurs, 9 Javan gibbons, 11 European bison, and over 60 western lowland gorillas back to their natural habitat

They have three strands to their work

  • To halt the extinction of endangered species in the wild by reintroducing animals and developing sustainable conservation activities; providing economic benefits to local communities and helping manage wilderness areas.
  • Provide the most natural environment possible for animals in both animal parks, and be world leaders in our animal husbandry and breeding programmes.
  • Increase public understanding of animal welfare and how we can all act to protect animals in their natural environments.   

Our trip to the park was amazing, both seeing these animals, as well as knowing they are being looked after. What made our trip so worthwhile was the gorilla experience I did with my dad. As it is was February, not many people are in the park, and it meant it was just the two of us with the keeper. This allowed us to have more time with the keeper, who explained all about the gorillas, everything from the structure of the group to what they eat. And it was the eating we helped the keeper with, by going on top of the enclosure and feeding a couple of the smaller gorillas nuts. We then throw lots more of the nuts in the main outdoors, spreading them around so they can search for the food. The only exception is the main silverback, who's eyesight is getting worse and worse, so had to put his head against the floor to try and sniff out the food. So we tried to throw them near him.

We stayed overnight in an hotel on site, and in the summer you can even go glamping, where you can sit on the balcony of a luxury glamping tent, watching giraffe, zebra and wildebeest as they drink from the watering hole in front of you.  

They are plenty of things to do there from Keeper for a Day to the Animal Encounters to your own private safari to photography workshops

If you not able to make it to the park, you can still help them by adopting an animal. They have a wide range of animals from Claire the Zebra to Ambam the Gorilla to Tyson the Honey Badger

They also do fun runs around the parks. Read More


And had these amazing sculptures in the rooms of the hotel as well as the git shop