Orphaned gorilla Mbailassem was rescued towards the end of last year after suffering the trauma of losing his family, most likely to the bushmeat trade. Under the expert care of our team, he has been growing up fast and becoming more confident and independent every day. On his daily trips into the forest, he's been learning how to climb trees and build nests, and he's a very playful infant who is always full of energy.

At only one year old, he is at an age when young gorillas would normally be spending their days enjoying lots of playing and wrestling with other infants, but always with their mothers nearby. We can never replace Mbailassem's mother, but it's very important for his development that he interacts with other youngsters. At the moment, he's too small to join any of our gorilla groups, so we decided to introduce him to some temporary playmates - infant chimpanzees Sandie, Florence and Friday. 

The introduction went smoothly and Mbailassem was quickly delighting in some rough and tumble play with his new friends. He now spends every day in the forest with the young chimps and has also recently started sleeping with them. He'll remain with Sandie, Florence and his favourite friend Friday until he's a little bit bigger, and then he'll be ready to meet his forever gorilla family. Mbailassem suffered a tragic start to his young life, but we're very pleased to see him in the forest in the company of other apes.

If you can help us care for our rescued gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys during this challenging time, please donate to our Buy a Gorilla a Dinner appeal. £5 can feed one of our gorillas for a day. Huge thanks to everyone who has already donated for your compassion and generosity. We couldn't do what we do without your support. 

Banner image © Ape Action Africa / Alex Benitez

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