Gorillas and Lions

Gorillas & Lions: Restoring the megafauna of the Batéké Plateau in Central Africa

“Amos’s talk was fascinating, and very encouraging to hear how much great work he and his team are doing. I thought the setting for the dinner was also excellent – the perfect backdrop to a lovely meal with delightful company.”

Gorillas & Lions: Restoring the megafauna of the Batéké Plateau in Central Africa 

In October 2015, Cerno Capital hosted a dinner with the Aspinall Foundation’s Tony King and Amos Courage, to hear about their fascinating work reintroducing animals in Africa.

The Batéké Plateau region of Congo and Gabon in Central Africa is probably the first major wilderness area where western lowland gorillas have been driven to extinction. The Aspinall Foundation has been reintroducing gorillas here for over twenty years. Over 50 wild-born orphan gorillas rescued from the illegal bush-meat trade have been released, as have a smaller number of gorillas sent back to the wild from the Howletts and Port Lympne wild animal parks in Kent. The two reintroduced gorilla populations are now thriving, with over thirty births recorded in the past two years.

However, the gorilla is not the only species to have been lost from the Batéké Plateau – a little over fifty years ago the unique and isolated savannas of the region teemed with waterbuck, reedbuck, hunting dogs and lions. In an ambitious new development, we are hoping to start restoring these species to their original homeland.

Amos Courage has been the director of overseas projects for The Aspinall Foundation since 2000. Prior to this, he was co-ordinator of the foundation’s Congo gorilla project for four years. He has worked in central Africa since leaving university in 1992. He grew up at Howletts wild animal park and is the stepson of the late John Aspinall.

Tony King lived and worked in the Batéké Plateau in Congo for five years, rescuing, rehabilitating and reintroducing gorillas with his future wife and many other committed staff of The Aspinall Foundation, while simultaneously studying the unique biodiversity of this bio-geographical transition zone. With a young family he then moved to Madagascar for another five years, to start a project to save  the greater bamboo lemur, one of the most endangered primates in the world. He recently returned to his roots in Kent to continue developing The Aspinall Foundation’s conversation and reintroduction to projects.

For more information on the work of The Aspinall Foundation visit: aspinallfoundation.org/conservation

“Thank you so much for inviting me to such an amazing dinner on Thursday. It is one of the most inspiring, touching and wonderful evenings that I have been to in many years. Congratulations on arranging such a truly memorable event – I will not forget it in a long time.”