For her 44th birthday, Koko the gorilla received the present she’d long been waiting for–motherhood. The famous primate, known for her ability to master American Sign Language, has achieved a great deal in her life, but she never had the opportunity to be a mother. With the ability to communicate with her trainers by using over 1,000 Gorilla Sign Language signs, Koko let her trainers know that though she couldn’t bear her own children, she wanted a cat. This was back in 1984, after the California-based Gorilla Foundation workers gave her a toy one and she wasn’t satisfied. Koko was then given a real cat, which she named All Ball and the gorilla cared for the kitten like it was her own child. Unfortunately, this beautiful relationship was cut short when All Ball died beneath the wheels of a car. Koko was absolutely devastated when she found out and signed, “Sleep cat.”
Now, this beloved gorilla has been given the chance to turn over a new leaf. For her recent birthday, she was presented with a box of kittens and chose to keep two as pets. The remaining cats were then adopted into loving homes. With two new babies to care for, Koko is once again able to show just how much love she has to offer the world.
Koko greets her new family members for the first time.
Koko signs the word “cat.”
Koko signs the word “baby.”