Thursday, December 1, 2011


Dr. Penny Patterson
As I have said in my introduction to this blog, I do not endorse or advertise or solicit funds. But I do share information. I have followed Koko's "career" for years, and her story is so touching and so important, I feel compelled to share it with others. Truth can be very endearing and enlightening. Here are some excerpts from a message I received today from Koko's organization for your consideration.
I'm writing to share some great news, and an incredible opportunity for us to reverse the slide of gorillas into extinction. We've been invited to help develop a new national conservation education curriculum for the country of Cameroon — home to some of the world's most critically endangered gorillas.
The Gorilla Foundation has been working on educational projects with our partners in Cameroon for 10 years, utilizing the book Koko's Kitten to change hearts, minds and behaviors. Now we have a chance to add our forthcoming book, Michael's Dream, to reinforce our message and reach a much wider audience.
Here's why this will be so effective: Michael the gorilla was a bushmeat orphan from Cameroon who found safe haven with us in 1976 and became a close companion to Koko. He was an articulate signer, a highly creative artist, and provided a wealth of insights into the gorilla mind.
But Michael's most unique contribution was what he taught us about the horrors of the illegal bushmeat trade. As a child, Michael sometimes woke up screaming. He communicated in sign language the images that haunted his nightmares. Michael was telling us about his mother being killed by hunters.
Michael passed away in 2000, but his powerful story lives on in Michael's Dream. (With the help of  people who care enough to make a donation), we can take advantage of this amazing opening to incorporate our books and videos in a Cameroon-wide curriculum that will reach millions of students, teachers, families and potential hunters — changing their behaviors toward our gorilla cousins. The prospects for all gorillas are bleak and our work is critical to their survival — we couldn't do any of it without the generous support of people like you.
With warmest gratitude,
Penny & Koko
The Gorilla Foundation  /   /  1-800-ME-GO-APE  /  PO Box 620530, Woodside, CA

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