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Gorilla School is the name of an Animal Planet television series featuring a visionary re-wilding project conceived by Damian Aspinall, who grew up with captive gorillas at his father’s wildlife park near Canterbury, England. This childhood experience has been the driving force behind Damian’s vision for the Aspinall Foundation, which promotes the conservation of endangered species through breeding, rehabilitation and release into the wild. Damian is particularly well-known for the gorilla reintroduction projects in the Congo and Gabon, which have been ongoing for more than 20 years and received world-wide publicity, including the extraordinary reunion, filmed and posted on YouTube, with the male gorilla Kwibi, who was born at Howletts wild animal park in Kent and then re-located to the Plateau Bateke national park in Gabon, where the foundation’s gorilla school is based. It is one of the world’s most ambitious and successful re-wilding initiatives, not least because of the high risks facing the returning gorillas, ranging from rampant poaching to the need to learn wilderness survival skills, and the clever use of publicity via social media, TV and other mass media tools, to create awareness and support for the ground-breaking return of captive endangered species under the slogan ‘Back to the Wild’.

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