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Dear Friend,

It's been just over a year since Koko's passing, and as we are about to celebrate her birthday (July 4th) it is difficult for me to express how much we all miss her!  And, of course, we also miss Koko's friend Ndume, who is doing his best to acclimate to zoo life, with the help of his favorite Gorilla Foundation caregivers.

Thanks to your support, this year we are fortunate to have something very special to help us heal, commemorate Koko's life, and extend her powerful presence to future generations — the new book: A Wish for Koko.  This wonderful children's book (designed for grades 3 through 12, but meaningful for all ages) was written in collaboration with The Gorilla Foundation by award-winning children's author (and volunteer), Julie Brinckloe, as a tribute to Koko's life, and a path forward for her legacy!

What's the Story About?

This is the story of a young girl who's fascinated by the book Koko's Kitten and Girldreams of meeting Koko and signing with her. But when she sadly discovers that Koko has passed away, her dream appears to be crushed. Then something miraculous happens: a progressive zoo begins teaching sign language to a whole family of gorillas, and the girl has an opportunity to realize her dream after all. The theme of the story is that "all gorillas are Koko" and it is both natural and profound for people to communicate with them. And that when they do, both species are enriched by mutual understanding, respect and appreciation. It is the story of hope, embellished with art for children and a powerful message for all ages. 


Stella's Letter
The girl imagines what it would be like if Koko could join her in school

Koko plays cards
The girl reads a letter she wrote for Penny to the class

Class Signs
The girl's class learns to sign "Koko-Love"


How Do I Get the Book?

When you make a donation of $25 or more to The Gorilla Foundation, via the following button, you'll immediately receive a link to download the beautiful 62 page book as a protected PDF file.  If you donate $50 or more, you'll also receive a high-quality paperback edition, shipped within approximately 2 weeks.

(and receive the book, A Wish for Koko)


How Will My Donation Help?

In addition to enabling our caregivers to continue to support Ndume (who is attempting to adapt to zoo life, a process that could take a year or more) your donation will also help us build on Koko's legacy for the benefit of all gorillas.

The completion of the book, A Wish for Koko, marks the beginning of a multi-phase strategy to extend the gifts of interspecies communication to all captive gorillas and use it to establish sufficient empathy to save free-living gorillas from extinction, via the following top initiatives:

The Koko App
Learn to sign with Koko as the teacher. This app, which currently exists only as a prototype, will make it easy for millions of people to learn basic American sign language (ASL) from Koko. Gorilla caregivers will be able to use it to share care-related signs with their gorillas and possibly learn more of their many natural gestures. The App will also integrate all of our ebooks, including A Wish for Koko, and conservation organizations will be able to use it to convert poachers to protectors.

The Koko Archive
The Gorilla Foundation is actively engaging partners to host and digitally preserve the entire Project Koko Research Archive, so that all of the data (video, notes, art, etc.) can be protected, preserved and shared with both other researchers and the general public. The archive includes over 1000 hours of research video, 50,000 pages of coded research notes, and numerous pieces of gorilla art and other gorilla creations. This unique 4-decade archive will enable others to build on our work.


The Koko Sanctuary
We have 70 acres of leased land in the hills of West Maui (Hawaii), and up to 250 adjacent to potentially buy. This land could be used to create the first natural gorilla sanctuary outside Africa. We have at least one prospective partner with gorillas in need of such a home. Together, we can model new "virtual" gorilla exhibits that feature large open spaces, nondisruptive interactive video, interspecies communication-guided care and basic gorilla personhood rights (like choices and privacy in captivity)!


Thank You!

All of this is made possible by donors like you — 45 years of breakthroughs in interspecies communication research, education, conservation and care; the new book, A Wish for Koko; the above initiatives to realize the promise of Koko's legacy for all great apes; and our continued support of Koko's friend Ndume (whose transition could take longer than expected because he had been living in a sanctuary for 27 years).

Thank you for donating today —  we hope you enjoy the book, introduce it to your friends, and share it with lots of kids!

And thank you for celebrating Koko's birthday and life with us on July 4th. I know that Koko would be signing an emphatic "Good" if she knew that the seeds of love she planted on Earth are now beginning to blossom!

Sincere best wishes filled with Koko-love,

Penny and Koko

Penny's signature
Dr. Penny Patterson
President, CEO and Director of Research
The Gorilla Foundation / koko.org

PS:  When you donate, you'll receive an email with a link to download a beautiful, image-rich pdf of the new book.  If you donate $50 or more, you'll also receive a high-quality paperback in the mail.

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Conservation through Communication



The Gorilla Foundation   |   PO Box 620530   |   Woodside, CA  94062
1- 800-ME-GO-APE     [email protected]
The Gorilla Foundation is a 501(c) Nonprofit
Federal Tax ID: 942.38.151
Copyright © 2019 The Gorilla Foundation

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