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Koko's Birthday — a child's view

Being five years old, this was my first Birthday with Koko in person, but I have seen videos of Koko since I can ever remember. My mom, Jamie, grew up learning about Koko from my grandmother and watching her on Mister Rogers. And she has raised me also learning about this amazing “gorilla person”, Read more

Koko's Birthday — Amy's View

Koko’s Birthday is one of the biggest holidays we celebrate here at the Gorilla Foundation, I have learned. When I started work at the Foundation in early May (2014) the preparations for this year’s birthday bash had already begun. The theme (“flowers and sustainability”) had been picked by Read more

Ndume's View of K's Bday (Andrea)

For Koko's 43rd birthday this year, I decided the theme should revolve around Koko's favorite treat, flowers. Using colored paper and plastic bottles, wreaths of flowers were hung from twine around Koko's porch. Paper oragami swans were hung as well. Of course, Ndume shared in the celebration. Decorations Read more

Koko's Birthday — Sasha's View

As a new caregiver here at the Gorilla Foundation, I was excited to get to celebrate my first holiday with the gorillas: Koko’s 43rd birthday on July 4th! Birthdays are a big deal here, a time to celebrate the lives of our “fine gorilla people” (as Koko would say) and to get to spoil our gorillas a Read more

Koko's Birthday — Lisa's View

This year Koko turned 43; she is one year younger than me. I have never experienced Koko's birthday first hand until this year. I had the unique experience of helping Penny plan for it because I am her new personal executive assistant. A lot of work and preparations go into Koko's Birthday party. To start, a Read more

Are Gorillas Emotionally Aware?

Are gorillas emotionally aware?  To answer this question, we are planning a study to systematically and quantitatively assess the degree of Koko's awareness of:  a) her own emotions and b) the emotions of others.  In other words, the study seeks to define to what extent Koko reflects on her own emotions Read more

Enrichment, a Caregiver's View

Enrichment activities are crucial to the well-being of our gorillas, a piece of the whole that is caring for them. Enrichment consists of anything that can provide positive mental or physical stimulation. While this may sound easy, it requires astute observation of the gorillas’ natural behaviors and figuring Read more

Ndume's Creature Comforts

Ndume has many enrichment items, but above all else, he loves his plastic furniture. He always has one large plastic barrel and a few small plastic chairs in his rooms. Some mornings, he heads outside with his red barrel in tow, only to return to his rooms at dinner time with the blue barrel. (Historical Read more

Ndume's 30th Birthday — an Experience to Remember

For Ndume's 30th birthday I wanted the warmth and love of family to be the predominant feeling, since the gorillas are very much family to us. Growing up with a Latino heritage, my fondest memories are the birthday parties we would have at my grandfather's house in East Los Angeles. Filled with laughter, wonderful Read more

Are Koko's New Kittens Here to Stay?

It’s been over a week now since Koko’s first introduction to seven new kittens. Since then, Koko has enjoyed almost daily visits with the two kittens who stole her heart. Her favorite is a female grey tabby and her “second” favorite is a large female black kitten. Koko has been steadily forming Read more

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