The Gorilla Foundation has conducted the longest interspecies-communication study in history (since 1972) and the only one involving gorillas. “Project Koko” which included gorillas Koko, Ndume and the late Michael, has taught us that gorillas are more like us than we ever imagined, and that all gorillas are essentially Kokos — they can learn a human sign language to express their thoughts and feelings, and to enrich both their and our lives.

The future of interspecies communication lies in the transmission of Koko's legacy to as many captive and free-living gorillas as possible — to make their lives in zoos and sanctuaries bearable, and to save them from extinction in the wild.


To realize Koko's legacy, The Gorilla Foundation is focusing on 4 interrelated Programs:  Research, Education, Sanctury and Conservation (RESC), which are summized in what follows ...



We've pioneered interspecies communication for over 45 years. Now in partnership with a major university, we are creating the “Project Koko Archive” as a way to preserve this unique multimedia data in perpetuity and share it with others. There's so much more to do!




Building on the many publications and documentaries we've produced over the years, we're adding 2 major new Initiatives: i) the KokoApp, which will enable Koko to be a sign language teacher and gorilla ambassador on your cell phone, and ii) A Wish for Koko, a new children's book by an award-winning author, as a tribute to and reminder of Koko's life and legacy. 



We established a 7-acre sanctuary for Koko and friends in Woodside, California, designed and built the infrastructure for a 70-acre sanctuary on Maui, and supported a gorilla sanctuary in Africa. Now, our top priority is to ensure the best care for Ndume, including gorilla companionship, here at our Woodside Sanctuary.



We've distributed tens of thousands of Koko's Kittenbooks in Cameroon, Africa. These materials provide critical support for compassionate conservation and inform curricula designed by local African teachers. Now, we would like to add a multimedia conservation module to the Koko App< and measure its impact on interspecies empathy in Africa.



We need to raise a total of between $20-33M to accomplish the above strategic plan, in 3 overlapping phases, by the end of 2020:

Research: $200k/year

Education: $200k/year )

Sanctuary:  $200k/year + $1.5M for Sanctuary Expansion 

Conservation: $200k/year 


Current Annual Operating Expenses (FYE 2018)



The Gorilla Foundation's efforts are made possible largely by support from individual donors, with some support from corporate and foundation grants and merchandise (with a message). The majority (74%) of these funds are allocated to program expenses — research, education, conservation, and gorilla care  — while about 28% covers the necessary overhead expenses of management and fundraising. 

The following stats represent our pre-audited financial statement for FYE 2017:

Source of Funds
Allocation of Funds
Tot. Revenue:  $1.6M /yr
Tot. Expenses:  $1.7M /yr
Net Assets:  $3M



Contact Us



The Gorilla Foundation /
1733 Woodside Rd., Suite 330
Redwood City, CA, 94061
1-800-ME-GO-APE (634-6273)

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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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