Reunited, and it feels so good. After three years apart, lowland gorilla brothers Kesho, 13, and Alf, 9, were brought back together at the Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire, England. And if there was ever any doubt about whether or not gorillas experience joy, now there's photographic proof.
Kesho and Alf recognized each other instantly and immediately began patting their silver backs, hugging, and shaking each other's hands. Ian Redmond, the founder and chairman of the Ape Alliance, said, "What you're seeing is exactly what you think you're seeing. Two intelligent social mammals, who were separate, are pleased to see each other again and play together."
Kesho and Alf were born at the Dublin Zoo. They were separated when Kesho, the older and larger of the two, was taken to London Zoo as part of a breeding program. According to zookeepers at the Dublin Zoo and the Longleat staff, there were concerns about the two brothers being able to recognize each other and being hesitant to play together because Kesho weighs twice as much as Alf. But those fears were quickly put to rest. As soon as the brothers saw each other, all they could do was interact playfully and with joy.
The two brothers also have another sibling they can add to the mix: 6-year-old Evindi, who also lives at the Longleat park. Now, they can all be one big happy family.