Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Koko The Gorilla Celebrates 38th Birthday

koko gorilla birthdayKoko, the lowland gorilla who can speak to us through the use of American Sign Language (ASL), spent the day celebrating her 38th birthday. Koko's full name is Hanabi-Ko, meaning "fireworks child" in Japanese. Koko celebrated her special day with her self-chosen mate, Ndume, and her favorite caregivers. Through conversation she communicated her three birthday wishes.

Koko communicates through ASL, has a vocabulary of more than 1300 words, and understands much more spoken English. Dr. Penny Patterson, co-founder, president and research director of The Gorilla Foundation, chatted with Koko, and she let her know her top three wishes:

* Koko continues to hope to have a baby of her own, or adopt
* Koko looks forward to the day when the Maui Preserve is a reality and she and her family can enjoy the additional space, and a better climate (learn more about the preserve)
* Koko hopes that people will become aware of the plight of her species before it is too late (take action by visiting

Koko's birthday is a big day every year at The Gorilla Foundation. Today Koko opened presents and feasted on her requested fare of Japanese Sushi, Vietnamese tofu curry, and good ol' American 4th of July treats such as vegetarian hot dogs and layered gelatin salad.

Full story here.

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