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Koko The Gorilla Uses ASL 'Voice of Nature'

VIDEO [CC] New Year message from Koko the Gorilla, who urges humanity to stop destroying the planet goes viral.


Koko the Gorilla has used sign language to deliver a 60 second message telling humans to stop killing the earth has been making the rounds on the Internet in recent days.

Given by a gorilla in American Sign Language, it is among the more unusual messages for the New Year. Koko was filmed delivering a 38-word bulletin about how ‘stupid’ mankind is harming the Earth.


In the 60-second video, the 44-year-old great ape, which has been learning sign language since she was one, said: ‘I am gorilla, I am flowers, animals. I am nature. Koko love man. Earth Koko love.

‘But man stupid… stupid! Koko sorry, Koko cry. Time hurry. Fix Earth! Help Earth! Hurry! Protect Earth. Nature watches you. Thank you.’

The message was scripted by NOE Conservation, based in France, whose main focus is preserving biodiversity, and The Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, where Koko has lived since 1979, immersed in human company.

She is said to be able to understand 1,000 words of American Sign Language and 2,000 words of spoken English, but there has been controversy about whether her own use of signs is simple, reward-related mimicry or something more meaningful.

The video was made to help get NOE Conservation’s message across for the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris.

A spokesman for The Gorilla Foundation: ‘Because of her unique ability to communicate with humans in sign language, Koko is a natural ambassador for endangered species.

‘We presented her with a script drafted by NOE and allowed her to improvise during a series of brief daily video discussion sessions. The result was edited from a number of separate takes, for brevity and continuity.’ The spokesman said Koko had to learn ‘a few new signs’ for the video including ‘protect’ and ‘nature’.

What most people don't know, however, is that Koko was an avid Robin Williams' movie fan. As ET reported, when Robin Williams took a trip out to meet Koko for the show, not only did Koko immediately wrap her arms around Williams and embrace him, she did what she'd always seen him do onscreen. Source

Related: Koko’s Tribute To Robin Williams Goes Viral
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