Damian Aspinall is a casino-owning millionaire, environmentalist and animal lover who has made it his life’s mission to raise gorillas and release them into the wild. And in order to make that happen, the self-made businessman set up the Aspinall Foundation, through which he has raised over 60 gorillas in England and released them to secure locations in Africa.
Aspinall, who was once known for his party lifestyle and for dating supermodels like Naomi Campbell has now devoted his life to deepening the connection he has always shared with the animal kingdom. Apart from the Aspinall Foundation, he also runs Howletts and Port Lympne wildlife parks in Kent. It is his belief that animals should have as much right to happiness as humans do.
His deep-rooted connection with animals goes all the way back to his childhood – his father John, Aspinall, was a gambler and maverick zoo keeper. So he grew up around his father’s exotic pets, developing an all-consuming passion for wildlife as he got older. “It’s magic crossing the species boundaries, and the greatest thing about being alive,” said the 54-year-old. “You can’t explain it to people who don’t have it.”