In 1956, John Aspinall, a charismatic gambling club host, embarked on an extraordinary journey that would lead to the creation of Howlett’s Zoo. His initial companions in this wild adventure? A capuchin monkey, two Himalayan brown bears, and a mere nine-week-old tiger cub. Inspired by the story of an illegitimate Zulu prince who lived among wild animals, the zoo’s legacy passed to John’s son, Damian.

Growing up at the zoo, Damian formed deep connections with orphaned gorillas. Decades later, Damian, now married to a fellow animal lover, took his wife on a life-changing trip to Gabon to meet his old friends. What followed would shock the world…

Saved his Life

Upon encountering Victoria, Damian Aspinall immediately felt a sense of fate unfolding. She resonated with him as a fellow passionate animal enthusiast. Damian, responsible for overseeing two zoos filled with dangerous creatures, anticipated that Victoria understood the thrilling journey she was embarking upon.

Bound by their mutual appreciation for the marvels of nature, they bravely ventured into the wild and unpredictable terrain of matrimony, where peril and magnificence twirled together in harmony.

The Love Story

Having thoroughly enjoyed the happiness of their married life, Damian sensed that the time had come to share an extraordinary part of his history with his beloved wife. It was the moment to acquaint her with the gorillas he had cared for nearly ten years ago in his youth.

Their journey would lead them to Gabon, a captivating gem nestled in the heart of central Africa. Victoria eagerly anticipated the encounter with these exceptional beings, her excitement reaching its peak.

Howletts Park

But before we dive into the heart of our story, let’s rewind to 1957. In the quaint English village of Littlebourne, the extraordinary Howletts Wild Animal Park emerged from the visionary mind of John Aspinall, Damian’s father.

A sprawling canvas of over 700 untamed acres, this sanctuary played host to an astonishing array of creatures—majestic giants of both strength and humility, as well as smaller, fiery denizens of the wild. It was within these untamed borders that Damian forged his profound connection with the natural world, a connection that would shape his destiny in ways he couldn’t yet fathom.

Saved his Life

In a nearly unbelievable narrative, Damian became embroiled in a perplexing episode with a surrogate gorilla mother during his early years at his father’s zoo. Picture a young Damian, precariously positioned high in a tree, his descent appearing implausible. Just as all hope seemed lost, the gorilla mother intervened, gallantly carrying him down to safety on her back.

The awe-inspiring tale continued to resonate within Damian as he matured into adulthood. The image of the gorilla mother’s rescue persisted, weaving itself into the fabric of his consciousness. This extraordinary experience left an indelible mark, shaping Damian’s profound connection with these remarkable creatures and influencing his lifelong dedication to their welfare.

Strange compassion

In the presence of the remarkable gorilla, Damian marveled at her extraordinary ability to perceive his heightened emotions. As tears welled up in Damian’s eyes, the gorilla, with immense tenderness, extended her massive yet gentle hand. In a breathtaking display of boundless compassion, she delicately brushed away the tears from his face, leaving Damian standing in awe of this powerful connection.

The encounter left Damian profoundly captivated, as he witnessed the gorilla’s unparalleled demonstration of empathy. Moved by the remarkable display, Damian stood in awe, realizing the profound connection forged through the shared language of emotions. The gorilla’s tender gesture not only showcased her immense compassion but also cemented a bond between them that spoke volumes about the beauty of interspecies connections.