Heartwarming Moment as Two Gorillas Embrace Each Other After 3 Years Apart
The two gorillas in the photograph, Kesho and Alf, shared a touching reunion at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire after being separated for nearly three years. Their separation occurred when Alf participated in a breeding program, leading to their time apart.
Upon seeing each other, Kesho and Alf displayed a remarkable bond, behaving as if they had never been separated. As any stressed parent knows, siblings don’t always get along, but these gorillas embraced each other with a sense of familiarity as soon as they entered the gorilla cage at Longleat Safari Park.
Kesho, aged 13, and his younger brother Alf, aged nine, grew up together in captivity. In 2010, they were separated when Kesho was sent to London Zoo as part of a breeding program. However, Kesho was eventually returned to Longleat after it was discovered that he was sterile. The time spent apart, particularly in the presence of females, had transformed Kesho’s appearance. He had become a silverback, gaining 200 kilograms and developing a larger neck and head. Despite these changes, Alf had no issue recognizing his big brother and happily interacted with him.
Their first action upon reuniting after years of separation was a handshake—a heartwarming gesture that illustrated their deep connection.
Mark Tye, the gorilla manager at Longleat, expressed his surprise at the brothers’ recognition of each other, stating, “We weren’t sure if the brothers would recognize each other, but when they met, you could see the recognition in their eyes. They touched each other without any sign of aggression. We decided to reunite them 24 hours later, and it was as if they had never been apart. They were full of energy and playfully wrestled on the floor, not in a hostile manner. It’s quite unusual to witness such childish behavior in a silverback.” Tye further explained that Kesho was incredibly forgiving, and the gorillas had formed a strong bond.
The team at the safari park confirms that Kesho and Alf behaved as if they had never experienced separation, truly demonstrating their enduring brotherly connection.
Initially raised together at Dublin Zoo, the brothers were separated when Kesho was selected for the breeding program. If they had been complete strangers, there would have likely been conflicts and disagreements. However, Kesho and Alf showed their trust in each other by turning their backs, a sign of acceptance. It’s wonderful for Alf to have an older brother to look up to and learn from, while Kesho seems to relish being the center of attention. Witnessing their reunion brought great joy, as the brothers were born at Dublin Zoo and later separated when Kesho joined three female gorillas in London.
Longleat has formed a “bachelor team” of gorillas in response to the surplus of male gorillas in the breeding program of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.