Portrait of Koko

Video Highlights of a Gorilla Ambassador 

Voice of Nature  | New Kittens  |  Royal Portrait  |  Koko  |  TGF  |  Kittens  |  Empathy  |   Forgiveness 
 Family  |   Koko wants a Baby   |  Michael  |  Koko & Betty White  |  Koko & Robin Williams
All Gorillas are Kokos |  Celebrating Koko's Life  


Koko's "Voice of Nature" PSA

Koko helped us create this 1-minute PSA for the 2015 COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.
 While the PSA is edited, Koko is truly disturbed that other animals are endangered by humans.


Koko's New Kittens:  Mses. Gray & Black

Koko is a natural nurturer.  Here she bonds with 2 new kittens, Ms. Gray and Ms. Black
(after several years without a kitten companion, and 3 decades since her first kitten, All Ball).


Portrait of a Gorilla Ambassador by Richard Stone

UK royal portrait artist, Richard Stone, is interviewed about his recent painting of Koko.

Meet Koko (PSA)

30-sec. Public Service Announcement introducing Koko, who makes a plea for all gorillas.

Meet the Gorilla Foundation

Project Koko begain in 1972 and evolved into the Gorilla Foundation in 1976, whose
mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and to apply this knowledge
to advance great ape conservation, education, care, wellness and empathy.

Koko's Kitten (the classic story of All Ball)

The true story of Koko and her first kitten, All Ball, became the subject of a children's book,
Koko's Kitten, which has been used in schools worldwide to motivate conservation, reading & signing. 

Koko Bonds with a New Kitten: "Tiger"

Koko requests a return visit from a kitten that she named "Tiger."   Koko and Tiger play, and Koko gives
Tiger  both a plush kitten toy and a piece of fake cake as gestures of affection.

Can Gorillas Feel Empathy for Humans?

Koko responds to a movie that she has watched several times before.  When it comes to the
sad part, Koko turns away, and begins signing about the story and how it makes her feel.

Koko Models Forgiveness

Koko signs to Penny that she is hungry and wants an apple drink, which Penny forgot. 
Koko makes up for being a little cranky earlier by forgiving Penny and signing "Penny Kiss."


Penny and Koko Discuss "Family" and "Baby"

Koko wants to have a more traditional gorilla family and raise a baby (most likely
by adoption).  Here Koko signs to Penny about one of her dearest wishes.

Koko Wants a Baby and Selects "How"

Koko selects from 4 different scenarios that might result in her raising a baby gorilla and selects "two young female gorillas come to establish a more natural family group,  with Koko and Ndume,  
This is a very practical option for  anumber of reasons.

Koko Teaches "Baby" (doll) to Sign

Koko molds an orangutan plush doll to sign "drink."  She often treats her ape dolls as if
they were babies, which is an indication of both: a) how much she wants to raise a baby, and
b) that she would probably teach a baby sign language, without any help from her human caregivers.

Koko Learns a New Sign ("Butterfly")

Penny teaches Koko the sign for "butterfly" after showing her a picture of one on a decorated linen.

Meet Michael (Koko is not unique)

Gorilla Michael was born in Africa and came to live with Koko when he was 3 years old and Koko was 4.  
He learned to become an articulate signer and a prolific painter. Amazingly, when asked about his mother,
Michael recounted a story that indicates he may have been an eye-witness to the bushmeat trade.

When Koko Met Betty White (TGF Board Member)

Celebrity actress and animal rights advocate Betty White met Koko in 2005 and they have been close friends ever since.  This is a preview of their first meeting.  Soon after, Betty White volunteered to join The Gorilla Foundaiton's Board of Directors — and she remains and active board member.

Koko Remembers Robin Williams (a tribute)

The late Robin Williams came to meet Koko in 2001 and they had an extraordinary interaction.  Both laughed uncontrollably, and Koko for the first time in many months — since her best gorilla friend, Michael, passed away. When Koko heard of Robin's passing in 2014 she became very said.    
Robin was a special friend to her and Koko never forgets her friends.

All Gorillas are Kokos (a perspective on the Koko App)

Working, careing for and interacting with gorillas Koko, Michael and Ndume through the years — as well as recent studies observing that zoo gorillas have their own gestural languages — has taught us that all gorillas have the same natural capabilities to learn (our) sign language, to comprehend spoken English, to create art, to be nurturing to their companion animals, and to be empathetic with their caregivers.  Thus emerged the plan for The Koko App.



Join us in Celebrating Koko's Life (1971-2018 ...)

Koko's Legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone who's ever been exposed to her.  She inspires us to make the world the kind of place she knows it can be — where interspecies relationships are compassionate and educational!



Contact Us



The Gorilla Foundation / Koko.org
1733 Woodside Rd., Suite 330
Redwood City, CA, 94061
1-800-ME-GO-APE (634-6273)

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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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