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About Gorillas

Updated on February 11, 2008

General Gorilla Information

Everyone seems to love Gorillas from adults, teens, toddlers, and babies. This is apparent with the amount of gorilla masks and gorilla costumes sold all over the world. These ape costumes are popular for parties, festivals, Halloween, practical jokes and many more fun situations.

Gorillas live in the forests of Africa. Their diets consist of both plants and insects. Gorilla are considered primates and are split into two species. Their life span is from 30 to 50 years. Funny enough, gorilla came from a Greek word Gorillai, which translated to a "tribe of hairy women".

All of the gorilla population walks on its knuckles. Males are generally 5ft 7in and 390lb with the females 4ft 7in and 220lb. Gorillas weight can fluctuate just as humans. Some captive zoo gorillas have weighed as much as 600lb. A mature females stay pregnant for about 8.5 months and wait around 3 years between offspring, which is how long their baby's need moms assistance.


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    • profile image

      Kim Hamilton 

      6 years ago


      About The Gorilla Foundation

      Koko Speaks! Mission: To bring interspecies communication to the public,

      in order to save gorillas from extinction,

      and inspire our children to create a sustainable future for all great apes.

      Short Form: Conservation through Communication

      Corporate Profile:

      The Gorilla Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 corporation dedicated to the preservation, protection and well-being of gorillas through interspecies communication research and education. The foundation was established in 1976 and is best known for its groundbreaking work with two western lowland gorillas, Koko and Michael, who were taught to become fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). The results are published in numerous research papers, books and videos that can be found in our Bibliography.

      Our current goals include: a) establishing the Maui Ape Preserve, b) helping Koko to have a baby, with her new mate, Ndume, and thus foster cultural transmission of a human-taught language to a new generation of gorillas, c) providing and modeling the best care for gorillas in captivity, and d) developing multimedia and web-based educational resources for partner institutions, schools and advocates to help convert our knowledge base into practical conservation, legal rights and captive care achievements for great apes. (See for example the ZEST — Zoo Enrichment Signing Tutorial program.)

      The work of the Foundation is underwritten by donations from individuals, grants from foundations and corporations, and educational product sales. The Foundation receives no support from government sources.

      Who is Koko?

      When Penny Patterson, a young graduate student in psychology at Stanford, first saw a tiny, undernourished baby gorilla named Hanabi-Ko at the San Francisco Zoo, she had little inkling that the sickly ape would become her constant companion - and the subject of the longest continuous experiment ever undertaken to teach language to another species. But within a year, Project Koko was underway, and in two weeks the gorilla was using correct signed gestures for food, drink, and more. Today, decades later, Koko - the world's most renowned gorilla - is drawing on a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words.

      Who is Penny?

      Dr. Penny Patterson received a degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Stanford. She is now President and Research Director of The Gorilla Foundation/, a member of the Board of Consultants at the Center for Cross Cultural Communication in Washington, D.C., and is the Editor-in-Chief of Gorilla, the journal of The Gorilla Foundation/

      Note: Psychology runs in the Patterson family: Penny's father, Dr. C.H. Patterson, who has been a key supporter and source of inspiration for Penny and TGF, is also a world-renowned professor and author in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy - see his insightful website.

      Who is Ron?

      Dr. Ron Cohn is the Co-Founder, Vice President and principal photo-video documentatarian for Project Koko. He is responsible for most of the visual content on the site!

      Contact Information

      Mailing Address

      The Gorilla Foundation/

      Box 620530

      Woodside, CA 94062

      Email Addresses:

      ContactUs (General Inquiries)

      Service (Membership, Donations and Kokomart customer service)

      Education (Teachers)

      Kids (Kids inquiries)

      CorporateSponsor (Corporate Sponsorship / Maui Preserve)

      MajorGifts (Major Gifts / Maui Preserve)

      Jobs (Job Openings — to see job listings click here)

      Volunteers (Volunteering— to see volunteer listings click here)

      WebMaster (Website Issues)

      WishList (InKind Donations)

      Phone (USA):

      800-ME-GO-APE ( 800-634-6273 )        Outside of USA: 650-216-6450



    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      WOW! I love the way when clicking on this HUB... and there he is


      I was only a few days ago at the Zoo with one of my grandaughters... and observed the gorillas.

      They are quite mysterious to watch.

      It is hard to imagine and I would like to know - what they are thinking as they look directly back at those of us with our cameras pointed directly at them... basically looking like 'monkeys' ourselves!

      And they just sit there, calm and totally cool.




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