Koko, a Lowland Gorilla born at the San Francisco Zoo, was an ambassador for gorillas all over the world. She spent her life at The Gorilla Foundation sanctuary in Woodside, California. Dr. Penny Patterson was her teacher and “mom” and lifelong friend.
Penny taught Koko to speak through sign language. And together they shared the heart and mind of a gorilla with the world.
Penny and her team devoted each day to the care and education of Koko and her gorilla friends, Michael and Ndume. Koko signed with them all, and they learned amazing things from one another.
Sadly, in 2018 at the age of 47, Koko passed away.
But Koko’s life was a gift to the world. By speaking through signs, Koko taught us that gorillas have thoughts and feelings just like ours. They learn new things, just like we do. Gorillas can draw and paint what they feel and see. They enjoy music and books.
Gorillas understand jokes and make jokes of their own. Koko made plenty, and was very amused with herself. She even made up signs of her own, and was a very patient teacher.
And though she never had a gorilla child, Koko nurtured a tiny kitten she named All Ball with the love and tenderness of a devoted mother. And taught the world her most important lesson — that kindness makes all things possible. That gorillas and humans can protect one another, through kindness.
And that is how Kids4Koko was born. It began with a new book A Wish for Koko, the story of a girl who read the classic book Koko’s Kitten and fell in love with a gorilla. She vowed one day to meet Koko—to invite her to school and help save gorillas everywhere.
But the girl’s dream was crushed when she learned Koko was gone. Then something wonderful happened. Her teacher brought Koko’s life and legacy to the classroom, inspiring students to share them with the world. And their call to action was Kids4Koko.
We are kids who share Koko’s message of kindness for all living things. We are kids who want to help save gorillas from extinction. You can join us.
All you need is kindness. Everything else you can learn and share here, at Kids4Koko!
“Plant kindness and gather love.” (Proverb)
The Kids4Koko Pledge
As a “Kid for Koko”, you are the key to waking people up to the importance of treating other intelligent species and our planet with love and respect, and ensuring a brighter future for all.
If you agree, please sign the Kids4Koko Pledge and share with your friends.