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Koko Responds to 9-11 (Part 2)

While many people know that Koko is fluent in sign language, most aren't aware that she also understands a great deal of spoken English. So, when she overheard staff discussing the 9-11 tragedy, then later caught a minute of a Charlie Rose TV segment describing the incident, Koko became quite anxious. Here's an Read more

Koko's Reaction to the Crisis; Part 1

A few days after the September 11 tragedy, Joanne Tanner, a volunteer who has known Koko for many years, visited the foundation. She was so moved after her visit with Koko that she wrote the following letter, which I'd like to share with all of you. “I spent the afternoon with Koko on Sunday, September Read more

Koko's Birthday Celebration

An ice cream sundae, apple cider, coleslaw, and angel food cake with soy-yogurt frosting–sounds like the start of a birthday feast for Koko! And indeed it was. On Koko's 30th birthday (July 4, 2001), she devoured her favorite foods, enjoyed her favorite activity, a walk around the Gorilla Foundation grounds, and Read more

Koko's Stamp of Approval

As I am sitting on the swing outside the large enclosure Koko comes over to me. Amongst the notebook, daily checklist and data sheets I am holding, I have a printed version of our new 3D representation of the planned Maui Sanctuary habitat. As I review it, I share it with Koko, flipping through several pages depicting Read more

Michael: Dialogue with a Silverback

As this is the birthday month of Michael (3/17/72-4/19/00)—the majestic silverback who grew up with Koko, spoke with us in American Sign Language, and left us with a collection of exquisite paintings and beautiful memories—I'd like to share a few of our conversations with Michael in this Journal entry. Read more

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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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