A toddler’s greatest fantasy? Or a parent’s worst nightmare? The little girl being toted around a like an American Tourister suitcase in the video above is Tansy Aspinall; her father, Damian Aspinall, is fully aware that she is in the gorilla enclosure, because he put her there.
Aspinall is a British conservation activist who shot the video 22 years ago at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, England, the New York Daily News reports, but didn’t make the video public it until now out of fear of backlash for what some would see as parental endangerment of his then 18-month old daughter. He said he released the video to show how gentle gorillas actually are, ABC News reported. Sure enough, in the video the gorilla plays very gently with the toddler, even going down a slide with her.
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Aspinall’s foundation works to send endangered gorillas back into the wild. Another video shows him searching the forests of West Africa for a gorilla named Kwibi who was released with the help of the foundation five years earlier, the New York Daily News reports. Aspinall hopes that seeing the video of his daughter playing with the gorillas will remind people of the urgent need to help save the endangered animals.
Noted wildlife expert Jack Hanna spoke to ABC News and reminded viewers that gorillas are wild animals, and aren’t always going to respond to humans so well. He added that it was likely that the Aspinalls had been made a part of the gorillas’ family since they had been involved with the gorillas for three generations, including John Aspinall, Tansy’s grandfather. “The key is John and his son were accepted as part of that family structure, that’s very rare,” Hanna told ABC. In other words, don’t try this at home.