RingSide Report

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Facebook, Twitter & Youtube: The Celebrity of Ambam

By Geno McGahee

RSR was recently contacted by Ambam supporters to give us an update on his life and the status of the park where he resides. RSR seems to be on the verge of becoming the home of Ambam, perhaps even one day becoming a mascot. We will always welcome a 485 pound gorilla that walks upright at RSR…always have, always will.

Charlotte Jones, PR Officer for Ambam, spoke to RSR and filled us in on the comings and goings of this rare animal:

Ambam was born at Port Lympne’s sister park, Howletts, in 1990. Both parks are dedicated to protecting rare species and are managed by an international conservation charity called The Aspinall Foundation (TAF). TAF are pioneers in the conservation of gorillas both at the Kent Parks and at its gorilla rescue and rehabilitation projects in Congo and Gabon where it protects over 1 million acres of unique ecosystem.

In the UK TAF safeguards and expands the numbers of Western lowland gorillas: Howletts and Port Lympne house the largest collection of gorillas in human care outside Africa and have had over 120 births to date. Overseas TAF rescues baby gorillas orphaned by the bushmeat trade and reintroduces them back into the wild at its reserves in Congo and Gabon. As well as these wild orphans the charity also reintroduces gorillas born at Howletts and Port Lympne into its African reserves. These reintroduced gorillas are actually going on to breed in the wild, with 14 successful births to date, a phenomenal achievement that is testament to the success of the scheme.

Social media Coordinator Bradley McManus commented:

‘We were kindly given permission to use the clip and knew right away it would be popular. While this is an interesting behaviour in its own right we added the music for a bit of gentle humour and to help the clip go viral. The success of the video proves the power of social media to spread messages all over the globe in a very short time. It’s really important for businesses to engage with their customers through social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and an attraction like Port Lympne has no end of interesting footage and photo opportunities.’

The parks have already gained exposure through a clip from TV show Gorilla School that was filmed at their Africa projects. The clip has received over 1.5 million views since its creation last April and has led to press attention around the globe. The clip shows an emotional reunion between park owner Damian Aspinall and a Howletts gorilla named Kwibi he released into the wild several years previously.

I want to thank Charlotte Jones for the update on the lovable gorilla and share some comments from some of our RSR readers and Ambam supporters:

“What a great gorilla. You don’t see a gorilla walk upright every day. Perhaps one day, we will see a big gorilla walking upright in the USA. I will keep a look out. RSR Rules!” – Ben Becker, Tampa, FL

“I’ve gone ape for Ambam! LOL” – Scott Anderson, Chicago, IL


“RSR is doing wonders for animals. I’m a supporter of the fair treatment of animals and although I don’t approve of them being gawked at and made spectacle of, I do like the fair coverage of Ambam.” – Michelle Travis, Houston, TX

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