The Gorilla Foundation is best known for conducting the longest interspecies communication study in history (almost 5 decades) and the only one involving gorillas: Project Koko.  Our mission, Conservation through Communication applies the results and lessons of interspecies communication (with gorillas Koko, Michael and Ndume) to save gorillas from extinction in the wild, dramatically improve their care in captivity, and continue our exciting dialogue with Nature.  Everyone can learn to sign, and all gorillas are Kokos, and these 2 realizations make saving the great apes both a worthwhile and highly reachable goal. Please join us and expedite the process!


Digitizing and analyzing 5 decades of unique interspecies communication data for the benefit of captive and free-living great apes.
KokoKids brings together students from all over the world to learn from Koko and become voices for Nature.
The Koko Signs app will enable everyone to learn sign language from Koko and help make communication with great apes ubiquitous.
KokoCares is a program to design better ways to care for gorillas in zoos and sanctuaries, giving them both autonomy and language.


  • Koko Directs Her Playtime (KokoArc 1975)
    This video shows Koko (age 4) signing and playing with Penny inside at the San Francisco Zoo. Koko loved to play chase and swing, and was able to tell her caregivers exactly what she wanted. Koko’s […]
    Read More
  • Meet Sam
    Sam and his mother met with Drs. Penny Patterson and Gary Stanley of The Gorilla Foundation via Zoom, in January 2021, to discuss Sam’s love of Koko and many other animal friends.  We also […]
    Read More
  • Koko App Video Preview
    The Gorilla Foundation is actively developing the Koko App which will enable anyone to learn sign language from Koko and help make communication with more great apes possible.   Please watch the […]
    Read More
  • Why Not Learn Their Language Too?
    In the above photo, a young Michael is gesturing to Koko that he wants her to “come” closer to him.  This is an example of a natural gorilla gesture. All gorillas use gestures to communicate with one […]
    Read More
logo Meet Koko

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…

They can all be Voices for Nature!

All Gorillas are Kokos

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.

Honoring Koko

5th grade teacher

“When we think of saving the Earth, we can't help but think of Koko!"

A 6-year old boy

“All gorillas are Kokos”