Research/Care Blog

Blog Archive

Koko's Farewell to Mister Rogers

As many of you know, Fred Rogers (TV's Mister Rogers)—who's been a friend and mentor to children for several decades—passed away recently. You may not be aware that Koko was one of those “children” who watched Mister Rogers regularly on TV, and was a great admirer of Fred Rogers (as was Koko's Read more

Koko Spends Quality Time with Ndume

This picture captures a common occurrence at the Gorilla Foundation these days: Koko and Ndume lounging just a few feet apart in a sunny patch of yard. It says a great deal about the mutual trust they have developed, and we hope it is a sign that a gorilla baby is not too far off. The gorillas' progress coincides Read more

Koko's Gift Advice

If you ever need help picking out holiday gifts, try asking a gorilla. That's just what I did last year. I carried a stack of gift catalogs into Koko's building. Naturally, Koko first picked up a catalog of gourmet food gifts. Like many of us, a gorilla's eye wanders to possibilities for herself while she looks for Read more

Koko Makes a Halloween Mask

Occasionally, members write to us concerned that some of the things that Koko and Ndume do, such as donning whimsical headdresses, subtract from their dignity. Both gorillas, especially Koko are highly perceptive of, and responsive to, holiday traditions much as human children are, and want to participate. As Read more

Gorillas Just Wanna Have Fun

An ethologist colleague, Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., wrote recently requesting material for his book on animal pleasure. He believes that such a book would strengthen society's sense of moral responsibility toward other animals. DeeAnn Draper, a gorilla caregiver and food preparation manager, submitted the following Read more

A Sensitive Male

Ndume is Koko's male gorilla companion. For those of you who don't know, Ndume came from the Cincinnati Zoo in 1991 to live with Koko, by Koko's own choice (the gorilla version of video dating). He is 10 years younger than Koko (he'll turn 21 in October) and they get along splendidly. Ndume is an Read more

Koko Celebrates 31

An early morning walk in the fog, special drinks, a peanut butter sandwich, chocolate, gifts. Birthday wishes fulfilled on July 4, 2002--Hanabi-Ko (Fireworks Child in Japanese) had a wonderful birthday celebration in Woodside CA. Koko specifically requested the drinks, sandwich and chocolate when asked what she wanted Read more

Koko Wants to Have a Baby

Mother's Day always accentuates the fact that Koko's greatest wish is to have a baby of her own. We've known this for years, as she often signs the word BABY (see photo at left) and carries her gorilla dolls the way gorilla mothers carry their babies. She even pretends that her baby dolls can sign by molding their Read more

Koko Relates to Earth Day

Koko seems to have a natural appreciation and respect for the earth and its many creatures, and sometimes provides a role model for children of all ages. Let me illustrate with some examples. Not only has Koko taken good care of various kittens over the years, but she also once found and cared for a tree frog. One Read more

Michael: Dialogue with a Silverback

As this is the birthday month of the late Michael—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. In these Read more

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