Research/Care Blog

Koko Relates to Earth Day

Koko's at home in nature.

Date Added: 2002-04-20
Koko seems to have a natural appreciation and respect for the earth and its many creatures, and sometimes provides a role model for children of all ages. Let me illustrate with some examples.

Not only has Koko taken good care of various kittens over the years, but she also once found and cared for a tree frog. One morning, Koko carried around this little tree frog in a pocket under her arm, where her companion, Michael, would not be able to find it. She then released it into a protected area.

Koko also knows her own strength, and that she cannot always be trusted with delicate objects. Once we gave her a hand mirror (to self-groom) which she accidentally broke. We later offered her an unbreakable plastic version. The next morning, to our surprise, we found the plastic mirror had been slipped through the door of her sleeping quarters into the kitchen, where she was no longer able to access it. Koko was afraid she might break the mirror, and had given it back to assure its safety. She has done this sort of thing repeatedly.

Last week, I had the following dialogue with Koko, to see if I could get her to share her feelings about the concept of Earth Day. I didn't expect her to be too cooperative on the subject, but . . .

Penny: What should people do to save the Earth?
Koko: People have (to) hurry!

Penny: What do we tell people to do for the Earth?
Koko: Smile (then) Frown (then) Sad.

I'll leave the interpretation of her last remarks to you.

Finally, to end on a positive note, here's Koko's view of the creator:

Penny: Who made the earth?
Koko: Another lip. (“lip” is the sign Koko uses to refer to women, because they often use lipstick)

Obviously, Koko thinks the world is in good hands.
Can we prove her right?

. . . Penny
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