He is heavy. He's my brother. Silverback gorilla greets long lost sibling with a hug
He may have felt some trepidation at meeting his 35 stone big brother after three years apart.He may have felt some trepidation at meeting his 35 stone big brother after three years apart.
But any fears for Alf the gorilla were dispelled when the much larger Kesho met him with an even larger hug.
In remarkable scenes at Longleat Safari park in Wiltshire, the pair who were brought up together but then sent to separate zoos welcomed each other with outstretched arms.
The siblings hugged, slapped each others backs and even shook hands as they were reunited in a new £3 million enclosure.
In the three years the siblings have been apart, Kesho, 13, has grown almost beyond recognition becoming a silverback and leader of the pack
Meanwhile Alf, four years his junior, has yet to mature and remains about a third of his weight.
Born at Dublin Zoo, they were separated when Kesho was sent to London Zoo to take part in a breeding programme.
He proved to be infertile, but while living with three females as the dominant male he became the leader of the pack – and transformed from a small blackback gorilla to a silverback who towers over his little brother.
Mark Tye, head gorilla keeper at Longleat, told the Daily Mail: "We weren't entirely sure that the brothers would even know each other, but the moment they met you could just see the recognition in their eyes.
"They were very animated and there was a lot of rough and tumble, but not in an aggressive way. It is quite unusual to see that sort of childlike behaviour in a silverback."