The staff of the Gorilla Foundation in California surprised Koko The Gorilla with a box containing a litter of kittens to celebrate her 44th birthday.
Koko’s natural maternal instincts kicked in almost immediately as she began gently interacting with this litter. Koko took an immediately liking to a small gray kitten the staff named “Ms. Gray”. Koko even used sign language to ask one of the trainers to place the kitten on top of her head.
A small black kitten the staff named “Ms. Black” made a huge effort to escape the box and get to Koko. The staff decided to let Koko adopt both the small gray and small black kitten.
The Gorilla Foundation sent out an email newsletter stating that Koko had been more energetic than ever since she adopted the two kittens. The email also stated that Koko was using sign language more than ever as well.
Penny Patterson, the present and director of the research the foundation is conducting said, “We are demonstrating that Koko’s empathy for other species is ongoing, just as our empathy for gorillas must be too.”
To date, Koko knows how to sign more than 1,000 words in sign language. She also clearly understands more than 2,000 English spoken words. This particular gorilla has been a lover of kittens since she adopted her very first kitten named All Ball back in the year 1983.
The foundation hopes giving gorillas like Koko a chance to be a mother even when they don’t have a gorilla baby can help save the species.
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