Video Surfaces Showing Gorilla Playing with Toddler
A video shot 22 years ago by the head of a foundation whose mission is gorilla conservation is now just making the rounds on the YouTube website.
What is shocking about the newly released video, taken by Foundation director Damian Aspinall, is that it shows a full-grown gorilla playing with a blond-haired 2-year old child who is Aspinall’s daughter Tansy.
“I hope people who see this will … take an interest in the work that we’re doing at the Aspinall Foundation, and help gorillas in the wild,” said Aspinall.
The gorilla in the video is shown gently picking up the girl as if she was the gorilla’s own offspring and carrying her around a playground area.
Viewers who first saw the video expressed outrage that any parent would allow their child to come into such close contact with a wild animal.
But Aspinall has defended his actions, saying that he decided to release the two-decades old video now because he wants to bring worldwide attention and discussion to the preservation of endangered gorillas and to demonstrate just how truly gentle gorillas can be.
Tansy herself told Good Morning America on Monday that she wasn’t frightened of the gorillas at the time: “I don’t remember specifically that video, but I definitely remember going in with the animals and just loving being around them. It was like playing with another brother or sister, really.” Her father added in the same GMA segment that the encounter wasn’t dangerous because “if you’re brought up with the gorillas and you’re part of the family group, it’s not risky at all.”
One YouTube user wrote:
“I think this is an amazing video and for all the parents whining, take care of your own children. This girl is 23 years old now and she’s fine after a childhood of playing with the gorillas. I swear to God, I’m so sick of people thinking they can tell everyone the right or wrong way to raise kids and thinking they’re geniuses just because they’ve popped a kid or two out.