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Dear Friend,

Did you know that all gorillas are just like Koko? Or as a young boy once put it in a letter, "all gorillas are Kokos."  That is, all gorillas are capable of communicating with humans, if we just give them a chance. And by doing so, we not only help individual gorillas and their species, we help humans too, as interspecies communication has the power to uplift the world, and inspire us to protect endangered species, save our environment, and add meaning to our lives, as we are awakened to new understanding and empathy.

This is "Koko power" — the power she's given to all of us to use to change the world. And that's what we intend to do, as explained and demonstrated below (see video).


But First, A Wish for Ndume

It's been 2 months since Ndume, Koko's old pal, left his sanctuary home at the Gorilla Foundation (after 27 years) to live at the Cincinnati Zoo. His most beloved and dedicated Gorilla Foundation caregivers have been with him every step of the way — thanks to your support. Two of his caregivers were with him during the first 2 weeks, and one has stayed with him for the full 2 months to help him adapt.  

While he seems to be doing well, significant challenges remain, such as introductions to new gorillas, adapting to zoo visitors, and missing his Gorilla Foundation caregiver social support.

We will continue to be on hand to help Ndume as needed and thank the Cincinnati Zoo for allowing us to be an integral part of this process. Our wish for Ndume is that he experiences much happiness and longevity!

Ndume (Pre-Transfer)

The Future of Interspecies Communication

It is essential that we apply our nearly 5-decades of experience communicating with gorillas to help all gorillas — to protect critically endangered free-living gorillas from poaching, disease, and habitat loss, and to ensure that their captive counterparts in zoos are understood as the intelligent, emotionally complex and highly communicative individuals they are.

While the Gorilla Foundation is the only organization focusing on gorilla communication, there are many experts communicating with other species (from great apes to dolphins to elephants to parrots, fish and companion animals). In fact, I just participated in the first “Interspecies Internet Workshop,” at MIT, and was encouraged to engage with a network of 30 like-minded colleagues and advocates working to broaden the connections between species ranging from great apes to elephants, dolphins, parrots and even companion animals.

The participants agreed on the extraordinary potential of interspecies communication to advance conservation, captive care, scientific understanding and empathy.

Watch the Video I Shared at the Interspecies Internet Workshop:


Koko's New Path Forward for Gorillas

With colleagues like those I met with at the interspecies Internet Workshop, and supporters like you, we can extend Koko’s Legacy and help both her species and ours realize the profound and sustainable benefits of interspecies communication.

Our plan is to provide the following collection of Tools, Training, Data, and Sanctuary (Land) to other institutions responsible for the care and/or conservation of gorillas and other great apes, so that all gorillas can be treated like Koko — with respect and awe.

Strategic Plan

These assets represent the culmination of a half-century of interspecies exploration, made possible by you, dear member, and three wonderful gorillas — Koko, Michael and Ndume.

With your continued support, Koko’s Legacy will have the power to engage the world community in conservation through communication.

You Can Help

Just imagine… humans and gorillas continuing to “talk” with one another; people seeing that all gorillas are capable of communicating with humans if we just give them a chance; and millions of children inspired by Koko (all gorillas are Kokos) to take better care of other animals, our environment and each other.

This is not a distant reality, this is something we can accomplish in the next few years with your support.  Please consider making a special gift to help us launch this important new initiative.


When you do, you will also receive a copy of our powerful new children's book, A Wish for Koko, as both a thank-you gift and an educational tool. The book, created by award-winning author Julie Brinckloe, is a tribute to Koko and a vision of the path forward.

Book Offer
About the Book (synopsis and reviews)

Please, make a generous donation today!
Don’t let Koko’s Legacy be forgotten!  Together we can create a Koko-inspired future for gorillas, humans and our planet!

With love and gratitude,

Penny and Koko

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

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 PO Box 620530,  Woodside, CA  94062        1-800-ME-GO-APE
The Gorilla Foundation is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Organization
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