Listen-and-Read-Along MY HERO Stories - for ESL


by Jennie from Ansonia

Koko the gorilla<br> (
Koko the gorilla

Koko was born on July fourth, 1971. She learned American Sign Language when she was less than one year old. She has been working with Dr.Penny for over 30 years! Koko is a hero because she shows people that animals have feelings, wants, and needs. She is like the mediator, or ambassador for all animals, not just for gorillas. She shows us that we need to save animals whose habitats are being destroyed.

Koko can even read! <br>(
Koko can even read!

I bet you're wondering if Koko is still alive today. The answer to that question is yes. Koko is as alive as you are! She is a thriving 34-year-old gorilla. The fact is gorillas are like big, furry, silent humans. Gorillas are like humans in their intellect, emotions, and their ability to feel pleasure and pain. Koko tested in the 80's and 90's for IQ. The average IQ for a normal adult human is 100. Gorillas feel emotions such as love, anger, happiness, and sadness. The can feel physical and emotional pleasure and pain as well. So, like I said before, gorillas are like big, furry humans!!

Koko is very gentle with all of her kittens. <br>(
Koko is very gentle with all of her kittens.

Koko's Kitten is a book written by Dr. Francine Patterson. It is about Koko and her wanting a kitten. She asked Penny for a cat for her birthday. At first, Penny only gave Koko a toy cat, and when Koko got it she signed, "That red." When Koko said "red," she meant she was angry. Koko wanted a real cat, but Penny didn't understand. Then Penny got the message. She found a breeder who had 3 kittens. One was a tailess tabby, the next was a cat with a stubby tail, and the last was a normal and healthy cat. I'm not going to tell you which one she chose, but Koko got a cat and loved it like any human would. She pretty much treated it as if it was her own baby!

This is Koko's mate, Ndume. <br>(
This is Koko's mate, Ndume.

Koko's greatest desire is to have a baby. She is, after all, 34 years old. She has indicated that she will teach her baby sign language. If she does, she will continue the next generation of interspecies communication. Her mate, Ndume, is a 400 pound male who is already a father of three. He was born in 1981, so that makes him about 25. He came to The Gorilla Foundation in 1991. (The Gorilla Foundation is the place where Koko and Ndume, as well as many other gorillas, live.) Penny believes Koko will be a great mother and treat her babies with as much care and tenderness as her kittens, maybe even more!

Koko really loves Penny. She is like her mother.<br> (
Koko really loves Penny. She is like her mother.

I really do believe Koko is an animal hero. She shows people that animals aren't as different from humans as you think. I know if you read this you will want to help Koko save her species whose habitat is being destroyed. They need our help!!! If Koko is this smart, that means other gorillas are too. Some of them might even realize what is happening to their environment!!! Please help save Koko!! You can be a hero too!!

Page created on 6/20/2015 3:44:18 PM

Last edited 7/25/2018 10:40:18 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

The Gorilla Foundation - Meet Koko Introduction
The Gorilla Foundation - The Maui Ape Preserve