Damian Aspinall (born John Damian Androcles Aspinall) is an English millionaire who has a passion for raising and releasing gorillas into the wild. Aspinall made his millions in real estate. He now runs the John Aspinall Foundation – named after his late father who was a zoo owner and gambler. The foundation has released 51 gorillas to secure areas in Africa. Aspinall’s raising dozens of gorillas at Howletts, a wild animal park in Kent, England which was founded by his father’s gambling proceeds. He intends to free all of them. He recently released a family of 10 in Gabon.
“If I could extinguish all the zoos over the next 30 years, including my own…I wouldn’t hesitate,” Damian Aspinall told 60 Minutes. He dismisses the idea that zoos are stewards for animal protection and educators who encourage conservation in the wild. “There is no evidence. It’s a lie,” he told Leslie Stahl. Pleasing children is no reason to keep animals in captivity, he said. “We don’t have the right as a species to take animals to pleasure our children. That disgusts me. These poor animals.”