As we celebrate Koko’s birthday on July 4th 2022 (she would have turned 51), we remember some of the joy we shared with her on past birthdays.
Enrichment for captive gorillas is essential. They have minds quite similar to our own, thus experiencing a range of emotions much like ours. In this clip from the archive, Koko enjoys water play on a summer day. She seems content drinking directly from the hose and feeling the water spray on her hands. She is having supervised fun, with Penny and Ron close by. Koko has with her a favorite toy that we called egg baby.
Allowing gorillas to explore new things and express their autonomy should be required in captive settings along with outdoor time.
Currently there are no requirements for gorillas in zoos to spend time outside, and at least 2 US zoos don’t even have outdoor space available for their gorillas.