Koko as the "Voice of Nature"
(click to watch the video)
Saving Gorillas from extinction through interspecies communication!
Happy Re-Birthday, Koko (July 4th)
The Gorilla Foundation was created in 1976 to pioneer interspecies communications between humans and gorillas. Project Koko has become the longest-running interspecies communication study in history and the only one involving gorillas. Our mission is “Conservation through Communication” — to apply interspecies communication to save gorillas from extinction, improve their lives in captivity, and enable humans to continue our dialogue with them for mutual benefit!
Koko has given
humanity the gift of
“talking with the animals”
for more than
four decades now.
It’s time for other gorillas to learn from Koko …
The Gorilla Foundation needs a partner to host and digitize the entire Project Koko Research Archive, so that all of the data (video, notes, art, etc.) can be protected, preserved and shared with both other researchers and the general public. The archive includes over 1000 hours of research video, 50,000 pages of coded research notes, and numerous pieces of gorilla art and other gorilla creations. Collaborative archival is key for others to be able to build upon our work.
If you would like to host, fund or help us complete the Koko Archive, which includes all data associated with “Project Koko” over a span of 45 years, please contact us at: [email protected]
Learn to sign with Koko as the teacher. This app, which currently exists only as a prototype, will make it fun for millions of people to learn basic American sign language (ASL) from Koko (and Penny) and help translate her many amazing videos. Gorilla caregivers will be able to use it to share care-related signs with their gorillas and possibly to learn more of their many natural gestures. And conservation organizations will be able to use it to convert poachers to protectors.
If you would like to fund or partner with us to convert the Koko App prototype into a scalable product that can be accessed world wide, please contact us at: [email protected]
We have 70 acres of leased land in the hills of West Maui, and an adjacent 250 acres available for expansion. This land should be used to create the first natural gorilla sanctuary outside Africa. We have at least one prospective partner in the UK with gorillas in need of such a home. Together, we can model new “virtual” gorilla exhibits that feature large open spaces, non-disruptive interactive video, interspecies communication-guided care and basic gorilla personhood rights (eg, safety, choice, privacy).
If you would like to help fund, design, collaborate or implement the Koko Sanctuary, please contact us atL [email protected]
Koko passed away in her sleep on June 18, 2018 just 2 weeks before her 47th birthday on July 4th. She lived a full and loving life, and has been mourned by millions of people around the world — a process that continues to this day.
She taught us so much about herself, her species, and about ourselves — how humans can be more humane. And the lessons we’ve learned from Koko must never be forgotten — primarily that the conservation of our fellow great ape species can be achieved through good communication — interspecies communication!
Please help us realize the full potential of Koko’s Legacy by supporting the above projects, and transmitting the lessons of “Project Koko” — the longest running interspecies communication study in history, and the only one involving gorillas — to ALL great apes, both captive and free-living. They all have both the capacity and the right to communicate with us, and if we listen to them, we can both improve their lives in captivity and save them from man-made extinction in the wild.
We have finally learned to “talk with the animals.” What will our children think of us if we forget how to continue the dialogue? The truth is that all gorillas are Kokos — scientists have observed gorillas using dozens of natural gestures — which means that any gorilla currently living in captivity, at a zoo or sanctuary, can become a gorilla ambassador (i.e., a spokesperson) like Koko, if we just give them the opportunity. And if we let gorillas be all they can be, our empathy for them will grow proportionately, and gorilla conservation will become an integral part of human conservation. And that’s why The Gorilla Foundation exists.
5th grade teacher
“When we think of saving the Earth, we can't help but think of Koko!"
“Koko is one smart great ape”