Djalta and Bimms are Western Lowland gorillas. They were born at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, U.K., and released into the forest in Gabon, West Africa in 2003.
Twelve years later, two of the people who raised the pair went looking for them.
Conservationist Damian Aspinall and his daughter Tansy had helped raise and reintroduce Djalta and Bimms, so they had something more than a passing familiarity with the animals, but they still weren’t sure if the gorillas would recognize or remember them.
Turns out there was no need to worry: Not only did the the gorillas recognize Damian, but they knew Tansy as well, despite her having grown into an adult in the intervening time.
Djalta “seemed so interested in [Tansy], [and] clearly recognized her,” Damian told Storyful. The pair acknowledged Tansy with vocalizations – “gurgles,” according to Damian – and played more gently with her than Damian.
They even held onto the Aspinalls when they went to leave, and were waiting for them the next morning when they returned.