Posted in: Animal News

Gorilla Carries Toddler Like A Doll In New Viral Video

gorilla carries toddler

Twenty-two years ago conservation activist Damian Aspinall let his 18-month old girl play with a 300-pound gorilla. The potentially dangerous situation turned out to be kind of cute as the gorilla carries the toddler around like a little play doll.

The NY Daily News reports that the video was shot 22-years-ago at the Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent. Aspinall said that he kept the video private because he feared a public backlash. Now that more than two decades have past, however, the conservation activist said that he wanted to release the video to show that gorillas can be very gentle creatures.

Aspinall has worked with and studied gorillas for decades and was confident that his daughter would not be harmed. Still, several people are criticizing the activist for putting his daughter in harm’s way.

Animal expert Jack Hanna said:

“These are wild animals. The word unpredictable is something that you could use.”

Hanna notes, however, that the Aspinall family has been working with gorillas for generations.

Hanna added:

“John Aspinall and his son were accepted into part of that gorilla family. That’s something that is very rare.”

Aspinall said:

“The reality is that I was brought up with gorillas and my family was brought up with gorillas and if you’re accepted into the family then it really isn’t risky at all.”

The Aspinall Foundation works to return gorillas to the wild. You can read more about the foundation here.

Here’s the video from ABC News.

What do you think? Was Damian Aspinall crazy to let his daughter play with gorillas? Are gorillas really just gentle giants.

Here’s another video of Damian Aspinall reuniting with a wild gorilla he once worked with.

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Comments

71 Responses to “Gorilla Carries Toddler Like A Doll In New Viral Video”

  1. Anonymous

    This guy got away with potential murder. He got lucky and his daughter got off with his life. It wouldn't take much for one of these apes to rip her arms off of her shoulders and beat her over the head. Thank God it didn't happen but it should never never never be tried again!

  2. Anonymous

    This guy got away with potential murder. He got lucky and his daughter got off with her life. It wouldn't take much for one of these apes to rip her arms off of her shoulders and beat her over the head. Thank God it didn't happen but it should never never never be tried again!

  3. Anonymous

    This guy got away with potential murder. He got lucky and his daughter got off with her life. It wouldn't take much for one of these apes to rip her arms off of her shoulders and beat her over the head. Thank God it didn't happen but it should never never never be tried again!

  4. Anonymous

    This guy got away with potential murder. He got lucky and his daughter got off with her life. It wouldn't take much for one of these apes to rip her arms off of her shoulders and beat her over the head. Thank God it didn't happen but it should never never never be tried again!

  5. Cathie Lehocky

    The key here, is that this family worked for YEARS to be accepted by those gorillas, knew animal psychology inside and out- and before people judge, look at how many kids get bit by the family dog. Gorillas have a much higher IQ than your dog, so true- I am comparing apples and oranges- with the gorillas winning hands down.

  6. Cathie Lehocky

    The key here, is that this family worked for YEARS to be accepted by those gorillas, knew animal psychology inside and out- and before people judge, look at how many kids get bit by the family dog. Gorillas have a much higher IQ than your dog, so true- I am comparing apples and oranges- with the gorillas winning hands down.

  7. Andree Lemieux

    And if the gorilla had hurt the baby, he would have blame the baby…

  8. JuLeah Willson

    Humans we allow our children to play with can hurt them too… as can dogs, and cats. Horses can hurt kids, goats and cows can hurt kids… as parents' we make the call. He was smart to wait for the child to be grown before showing the video. I see kids all the time in cars with no seat belts, on bikes with no helmets, on the backs of motorcycles… and I'm not saying if they jump off a cliff, I will too… I am saying, kids are in danger all the time. It is part of living. Parents make the call based on their experiences and education. As one with little, well, no, education about these animals, I'd not allow my child to play with them. BUT, I also had a friend scared to death of dogs… she Freaked Out when she saw my child playing with a dog… freaked out! Was sure my child would be eaten alive… she wasn't.

  9. Lexie McKinney

    What did the MAMA have to say about her child being put in there? Obviously nothing. He knew what he was doing and he would never have put her in danger. Not to mention the fact… it was over two decades ago. Get over it.

  10. Lexie McKinney

    What did the MAMA have to say about her child being put in there? Obviously nothing. He knew what he was doing and he would never have put her in danger. Not to mention the fact… it was over two decades ago. Get over it.

  11. Hilma Mcneil

    Notice he said " gorrilas can be gentle" This also means that theh can just as easily be "'not so gentle"The story could easily have turned out differently. Thank god it ended the way it did, but the rest of us should not take such risk with kids lives.

  12. Jennifer Hunter

    I think the real point is, you NEVER risk your child to prove a point. Any animal, even domesticated ones, can turn, or hurt someone accidentally.. it certainly not worth the risk just to make a point.

  13. Jennifer Hunter

    I think the real point is, you NEVER risk your child to prove a point. Any animal, even domesticated ones, can turn, or hurt someone accidentally.. it certainly not worth the risk just to make a point.

  14. Anonymous

    Most whitemen can't do it… since they shoot anything in their sights..

  15. Anonymous

    Most whitemen can't do it… since they shoot anything in their sights..

  16. Anonymous

    Most whitemen can't do it… since they shoot anything in their sights..

  17. Anonymous

    Most whitemen can't do it… since they shoot anything in their sights..

  18. Stevin Stone

    This reunion between man and gorilla had me crying. What a beautiful and moving clip!

  19. Mike Bateman

    Nope. I give my kids the best chance at survival by raising them and teaching them the best I can. I'm ready to dive in front of bullets for them even at a superior age but throwing my toddler in with an ape? This guy raised apes and his offspring was a disease. That is why you find his offspring ready to be devoured. He and his wife are the shittiest people in the world and if they want me to kill them I will.

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  21. Lawrence Mintz

    Amazing and beautiful. I love gorillas and this man Damian Aspinall is a saint.

  22. Lawrence Mintz

    Amazing and beautiful. I love gorillas and this man Damian Aspinall is a saint.

  23. Lawrence Mintz

    Amazing and beautiful. I love gorillas and this man Damian Aspinall is a saint.

  24. Anonymous

    I'll bet Steve Irwin thought he was perfectly safe since he knew what he was doing, too.

  25. Wayne Dorman

    i found this man playing with the beast just a TID CREEPY!!!! Something just isn't quite right here. Yes, I understand the need to respect nature and its fascination but……the man looked like he was….well, I better not say.

  26. Wayne Dorman

    actually i believe a shrink for him is the order today. it's one thing to be amused with animals but to put one's physical human affection so deeply close is el creepo!! Something doesnt sit right with me with this.

  27. Cathie Lehocky

    They were NOT making a point. Did you read the article about how LONG this went without being revealed to the public?!!!!

  28. Valerie Gray

    sorry u feel this way i for one am very intune with my dog call it creapy no he doesnt sleep with me either. I just know how to read him and he tries so hard daley to talk to me, I understand where the man is coming from im sorry for you if you dont. If you want a good relationship with an animal it takes work and trust and alot of it. Sorry wayne but i can relate.

  29. Anonymous

    with those gorillas no. not a bad idea, but if it were in the hood playing with those animals is a whole different story.

  30. Julia Kuglen

    Makes me think about the true story about the gorilla Koko and her kitten. I don't know much about gorillas and their interactions with humans, but Koko certainly seems gentle. Obviously, it would be a good idea to avoid wild gorillas, especially because humans are probably one of the few animals that they would see as a legitimate threat (and rightly so), but maybe gorillas raised with humans in stable environments and with no learned reason to fear humans are reliable and predictable in ways that other animals such as chimps and lions are not. After all, gorillas are herbivores, while chimps are omnivores and lions are carnivores, so gorillas aren't going to see a young child as food. They also aren't likely to see a young child as a threat, so it may be that they aren't a threat to a child.

  31. Stephanie Cearnal Wilson

    She was attacked by a chimp. Someone else's pet chimp- and I believe the chimp had attacked before if I am not mistaken.

  32. Stephanie Cearnal Wilson

    These gorillas are this man's life work. I believe he knows a little more about them than we do. And in the interview the girl said he didn't put her in with the aggressive ones. It's just like a dog or any other animal- there are ones you can trust in certain situations and one's you can't trust in any situation. And as in anything, there is always a small risk.

  33. Lee Goble

    Common sense says that even Gorillas chastise there young so what would happen if the Gorilla was upset and decided to go ape on the kid.

  34. Anonymous

    I believe t is okay to risk your own life, but not to risk the lives of others, children or otherwise. Would it be okay for a Snake handler to allow his baby to play with a deadly snake he thought would be safe? A parent should err far on the side of caution. How many time have we heard of zoo handlers & other experts being maimed to death by primates? Non-human primates are known for playing too roughly with babies of their own species and a high percentage die this way in innocent play by an adolescent or adult. First time Primate mothers ofter loose their first born this way and are MUCH more protective with #2 so the other Primates can't "Play" with them. Would anybody here let this guy baby sit your kids?

  35. Anonymous

    I believe t is okay to risk your own life, but not to risk the lives of others, children or otherwise. Would it be okay for a Snake handler to allow his baby to play with a deadly snake he thought would be safe? A parent should err far on the side of caution. How many time have we heard of zoo handlers & other experts being maimed to death by primates? Non-human primates are known for playing too roughly with babies of their own species and a high percentage die this way in innocent play by an adolescent or adult. First time Primate mothers ofter loose their first born this way and are MUCH more protective with #2 so the other Primates can't "Play" with them. Would anybody here let this guy baby sit your kids?

  36. Anonymous

    Apes can kill you in about 2 seconds, and you can't step in and save them. If this is okay with you, I wonder what it would take for you to disapprove.

  37. Anonymous

    Apes can kill you in about 2 seconds, and you can't step in and save them. If this is okay with you, I wonder what it would take for you to disapprove.

  38. Jay Drew

    It's amazing what people will find to complain about. No harm no foul. Move on. Find something pertinent like the economy, Congress or the weather ect. ect. Not something that happened 22 years ago.

  39. Anonymous

    Monkey owners have a saying, "It's not if you'll get bit, but when you'll get bit".

  40. Linda Cortazar

    yes,becuz someone else may get crazy ideas from it & do something just 4 the publicity or shock value
    i hope no ones child is hurt becuz of this video being made public
    i wouldnt even want 2 c it-it is NOT "cute"

  41. JuLeah Willson

    The kid is fine, a grown woman now. She was not hurt. How often does this situation come up in life… a family that works this close with these animals, a family that is so educated and trained … how many people are ever in this situation? This family and this toddle might be it, the only. And, she's fine … so what's the problem? Dogs can kill you just as fast. A fall out of a tree can kill ya too, as can swimming and a car crash, and a horse … don't see the need to get upset over an event that happened 20 yrs ago and ended well and won't ever happen again ….Guns, now guns will kill ya too, and do. every day many in the nation die from gun shots … wanna save folks, start there

  42. Jennifer Hunter

    if they weren't making a point, they NEVER would have revealed it… they KNEW people wouldn't approve, including people who make sure parents aren't putting their children in danger…they kept it secret to save their own butts… its like those idiots who die because they thought they could relate to bears… these are still animals… and all it takes is a second for something to go wrong…worth risking your child's life for that? I don't think so.

  43. Tim Ray

    How about the humans who leave their kids home alone when they fly off to Vegas for the weekend…I'm thinking the gorilla would have at least made sure they were fed and protected as part of his/her extended family…so who's the higher functioning primate?

  44. Patrice Samuel

    I like it! It shows that the perception that humans have for these animals can sometimes be false. Even though some have been known to display aggressive behaviors, just like humans they too have their good and bad days. Fortunately, this man have spent his entire life with these animals, so I'm sure he was very much aware of what he was doing. People love to jump to conclusion. Obviously, the child was not hurt, nor were the animals aggressive.

  45. Ruth Thomas

    izipaul – I agree 100%. I would be mad as hell if I were his daughter for exactly the reasons you stated.

  46. Ruth Thomas

    izipaul – I agree 100%. I would be mad as hell if I were his daughter for exactly the reasons you stated.

  47. Ruth Thomas

    izipaul – I agree 100%. I would be mad as hell if I were his daughter for exactly the reasons you stated.

  48. Anonymous

    As adorable as it might be "to some loons" wild animals are very unpredictable, this shows the immature thinking of a 22 year old, that's all!

  49. Anonymous

    This is child abuse plain and simple. They should be in jail. This is like telling us that the child had a great relationship with the loaded gun until it went off. The biggest problem with these "conservationists" is that they try to assign human feelings and a human thought process to a wild predatory animal.

  50. Anonymous

    Under what wild pretense do these idiots think that somehow they have been accepted? Did the Guerrillas hand out some pamphlet that explained assimilation.

  51. Anonymous

    Siegfried & Roy pretty much said the same thing. Then they tried to play it off as if the lion was trying to protect him.

  52. Paul Peterson

    As much as I found this story touching, I still found it a little unsettling. Accidents do happen. However if a gorilla accidently kills a human child, it is automatically put down. A 300 lb. gorilla could snap a 3 yr. old child's neck and never realize it.