Koko Spends Quality Time with Ndume

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This picture captures a common occurrence at the Gorilla Foundation these days: Koko and Ndume lounging just a few feet apart in a sunny patch of yard. It says a great deal about the mutual trust they have developed, and we hope it is a sign that a gorilla baby is not too far off. The gorillas’ progress coincides with their new ability to interact indoors as well as outdoors. Last October, following renovations to our facility, we began the practice of opening the gates between Koko’s and Ndume’s living quarters. We refer to this arrangement as the “roundabout“ because it creates a looping pathway through the gorillas’ L-shaped main building and the small yard. The gates to the large yard and a second building are also opened, so the gorillas enjoy a free range of movement throughout the facility. They can explore each other’s spaces and belongings, and get as close as they desire in privacy. Ndume is a Sweetheart of a Silverback So far we have held the roundabout sessions during the day, gradually increasing the duration and enabling the gorillas to adjust to this major change in their routine. However, with the advent of warmer weather and Koko’s growing ease around her good-natured silverback companion, we intend to make the roundabout a 24-hour arrangement. Quiet nights and open gates provide the most favorable backdrop for the next phase of Koko and Ndume’s relationship. Penny

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