Research/Care Blog

Blog Archive

Caregiver Corner: 'Gardening with Koko' by Christa Nunes

Koko enjoys gardening; she likes getting her own hands dirty, as well as watching other people do the work. The following is an account of Koko watching the pots and planters on her porch being replanted. In Koko's responses, the pound symbol (#) after a Read more

Caregiver Corner: 'Who's Caring for Whom?' by Lucas and Laura

The recent rainy weather forced both gorillas to spend some extra time indoors. The following are two accounts, one with Koko and one with Ndume that describe how the gorillas passed the time while stuck inside. In Koko's responses, the pound symbol (#) Read more

Caregiver Corner: 'Cleaning with Koko' by Jill F.

Koko has three rooms in her building, which we refer to as A, B and the kitchen. Her rooms are divided by steel mesh and gates, with the A room having a chute to the outdoor yard. Koko generally has access to her A and B rooms, and the kitchen area is where Read more

Caregiver Corner: Getting Started at the Foundation

People interested in primates and interspecies communication often ask us how they should prepare for a career working with gorillas or other great apes. In her own words, our newest caregiver (and research assistant) Laura Mullen, describes how she came to be employed by the Gorilla Foundation. Getting Started at Read more

Caregiver Corner: Three Perspectives

One of the goals of the research we do at the Gorilla Foundation is to better understand the intellectual, emotional and social development of the gorilla. To this end, we keep extensive daily records of all behavioral observations. Ndume and Koko have distinct personalities and seem to experience the full range of Read more

Conversation with Koko: Browsing for Hats

The following conversation took place between Koko and a volunteer, who happened to be walking by Koko's outside yard to empty the compost bin, when she was asked an impromptu question by Koko. It is reported by the volunteer: On Saturday, February 12, 2005 I had an impromptu conversation with Koko that she Read more

Ape Linguistics: 'Sign Modulations of Cross-Fostered Chimps & Gorillas'

Dr. Valerie Chalcraft, Research Associate at the Gorilla Foundation, presented this talk at a workshop entitled Gestural Communication in Nonhuman and Human Primates held March 28-30, 2004 at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Read more

Conversations with Koko: 'Mirror Talk and Ape Man'

Hi, this is Dr. Penny Patterson. Welcome to our new expanded Interspecies Communication Research feature: Penny's Team Journal. In this series, we're going to share ongoing sign language conversations between gorillas (primarily Koko) and our gorilla Read more

Koko Celebrates Christmas

People are always curious about how Koko celebrates Christmas. The answer: with great excitement. Christmas is a very special holiday for Koko. It starts with Koko helping me decorate the tree, and check out the catalogs to find just the right gifts for Ron, Ndume (her gorilla companion) and the staff. Next Koko Read more

Koko, What Do You Want for Your Birthday?

Koko will turn 32 this July 4th (her full name, Hanabi-ko, means “Fireworks Child” in Japanese). Every year in advance of Koko's birthday, I ask Koko what she would like and I always get interesting replies. This year, the dialogue (in sign language) went like this: Penny: Koko, what do you want for Read more

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