Kesho and Alf are the two gorillas in the picture. Alf took part in a breeding program, that caused the separation of them.
They reunited at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. When they saw each other they behaved as if they were never been apart.
As some stressed parents know only too well, siblings don’t always get on. However, when the two gorillas reunited for the first time in nearly three years, they embraced each other as if they never been apart. Kesho and his younger brother Alf recognized each other immediately as they entered the gorilla cage. It is located at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.
Kesho, 13, and Alf, nine, grew up together in captivity. In 2010 they separated when they sent the older brother to London Zoo as part of a breeding program. They brought Kesho back after it was discovered that he was sterile. However the time in the female trade changed his appearance significantly. Due to the increased testosterone levels, he became a silverback, he gained 200 kilos, his neck and also his head became larger. For Alf, however, these changes have not been a problem. He shakes hands and giggles when he meets his big brother.
The first thing they did after seeing each other after years was shaking hands.
Mark Tye, manager of the gorillas at Longleat, said: “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 and there was no sign of aggression. We reunited them 24 hours later. It was as if they never been separated. They were very lively and argued violently on the floor, but not in a hostile way. It is quite unusual to see this kind of childish behavior in a silverback.” Tye said Kesho was very forgiving and the gorillas actually developed a very close bond.
The team at the safari park confirm that Kesho and Alf acted like they actually never been apart.
The brothers grew up together in Dublin Zoo, but were separated when Kesho was selected for a breeding program. If they had been two complete strangers, there would definitely have been a lot of personal fights and even some screaming. But Kesho and Alf were willing to turn their backs, which is a sign of trust. It’s nice for Alf to have a big brother to look at and learn from. Kesho also seems to enjoy being the centre of attention. It was very pleasing to see him. The brothers were born at Dublin Zoo. When Kesho joined three females in London they separated. Longleat has set up a “bachelor team” of gorillas. Apparently there are too many male gorillas in the breeding program of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.