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Post In Praise of Koko and Gorillas
Created by John Eipper on 06/24/18 10:43 AM

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In Praise of Koko and Gorillas (Istvan Simon, USA, 06/24/18 10:43 am)

Thanks to Ed Jajko (23 June) for calling Koko's death to our attention.

I was a great fan of Koko, though only knew of her through television programs. Koko indirectly called our attention to the terrible plight of gorillas in the wild, who are shamefully being slaughtered in Africa. Gorillas are our cousins, and extraordinarily gentle animals. They should be protected. Aside from Koko who no human with a heart could fail to love, I remember a film that was taken when a small child fell into a gorilla enclosure at a zoo, and lied injured on the concrete floor. The horrified people in the zoo gasped as a gorilla approached the injured child. What this gorilla did next is one of the most touching things I have ever have seen. An animal of great strength, people were afraid the gorilla might kill or further injure the unconscious child. But instead the gorilla sat next to the child, and gently stroked his face with his fingers, comforting the child, until paramedics arrived, when the gorilla discreetly moved away.

Koko rest in peace. I hope humans will become wiser and pass worldwide legislation protecting these wonderful animals from harm.

JE comments:  Absolutely.

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  • Koko at Stanford (Henry Levin, USA 06/25/18 4:34 AM)

    As you may know, Koko spent most of her life in Woodside on Stanford land and was closely associated with Stanford. This meant we heard quite frequently about her exploits. The Wikipedia entry has a charming description of Koko's intelligence and behavior.

    JE comments:  Hank, did you ever meet Koko?  Eugenio Battaglia forwarded this touching video of Koko's 2001 encounter with late actor Robin Williams.  The YouTube comments say that when K learned of Williams's death, she became very sad.

    Now, alas, the two friends are reunited.


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