Progress and Plans

Koko’s Kitten Book Distribution

Distributed 25,000 Koko’s Kitten books in Cameroon with the help of Penelope Fraser, Tony Rose, and Cameroon educators. Conservation values curricula have been developed based on the book for children from grades K-10. School administrators want us to expand the program.


Teacher Training

Penelope Fraser and local educators helped hundreds of teachers and pastors to create diverse Koko-based curricula for Cameroonian students and families. Surveys and reports indicate heightened conservation values in participants and show potential to reduce ape bushmeat consumption.

Poachers to Protectors

In 1998 Dr. Anthony Rose read Koko’s Kitten to Joseph Melloh, a gorilla hunter whom he had befriended. Joseph was enthralled and offered to take the story to the hunting camps. Joseph worked to convert poachers to protectors till his death in 2011.  Dr. Rose is writing a book about Joseph.

Sanctuary Support

Supported construction of the first gorilla enclosure for bushmeat orphans at the Mefou Primate Sanctuary in Cameroon in 2001. The enclosure, which was built by the Ape Action Alliance (formerly CWAF), was named the “Michael Sanctuary” after Koko’s late silverback companion.

Wildlife Protectors Awards

Gave two Cameroonian conservation workers a Wildlife Protectors Award ($10k) — one to Joseph Melloh for his efforts to convert gorilla poachers to protectors, and one to Denis Ndeloh for his PhD. research on the ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Cross River gorilla.

Growing Demand for Empathy Education

Thanks to our colleagues in Africa, our books and multimedia materials have been used to inspire students to read and write, parishioners to clean environments, deaf people to learn sign language, consumers to give up bushmeat. Everyone touched by Koko and Michael has asked for more.

In Njinikejem Secondary School, in the rural countryside near Bamenda, in Cameroon
hearing-impaired students and their friends are taught American Sign Language
using posters and programs in which Koko the gorilla is the teacher.
(filmed by Dodge Film School)


1. Publish and distribute the new book Michael’s Dream, with supporting videos and teacher training manuals, in African countries where great apes are most highly endangered.

2.  Distribute the Koko’s Kitten curricula to more school children inside Cameroon, and reach  out to educators in other gorilla habitat countries.

3.  Develop multi-media resources featuring Koko and Michael for use in African class-rooms, via personal computers, smart phones or iPads

4.  Expand interaction with gorilla sanctuaries in Africa, creating a caregiver exchange program (physical and virtual) to support their conservation education and caregiving programs.

5.  Develop strategic partnerships with diverse conservation organizations working in gorilla habitat countries in Africa (see Developing Conservation Partnerships).

6.  Seek, hire and support an empathy-focused educator to become our Director of Conservation and to enable and oversee our conservation programs in Africa.

7.  Enlist staff and partners to create blogs, publish books and speak at conferences to inspire and inform people with the achievements of our unique conservation work.