Hanabiko, or popularly known as “Koko” (born July 4, 1971) is a 300lb, female western lowland gorilla, best known for being intelligent enough to have a dialogue with people through sign language. She is the world’s most famous gorilla and lives peacefully on a ranch somewhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Learning American sign language since she was a year old, Koko can hold her own in a conversation with more than 1,000 signs. Additionally, she understands around 2,000 words of spoken English.
Koko and her abilities have baffled everyone from Leonard DiCaprio to Robin Williams and from top scientists to researchers.
Koko also has a website of her own (obviously), that has the URL: www.koko.org
This is a non-profit organization that is, as their official statement says, “dedicated to the preservation, protection and well-being of gorillas and other great apes through interspecies communication research and education. Established in 1976, it is best known for “Project Koko,” the longest interspecies communication study in history, and the only one involving gorillas. It has evolved into an institution that provides a unique resource for great ape conservation, care, and understanding.”
This is what a conversation between Koko and Penny (her caretaker, trainer and favorite human) looks like:
Intelligence is indeed, a privilege.
And finally, here is a full, in-depth documentary on KOKO that will present you with a whole new prospective on the possibilities of ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ movie happening in real life: