gorillas

Related to my elephant research, I’ve been reading about gorilla sanctuaries. The Gorilla Foundation is working with two gorillas, Koko and Michael, that have been taught American Sign Language in order to design the best captive habitats possible for these animals. Below are excerpts from a few interviews with the gorillas:

Q: What sort of visitors do you like?

Koko: Koko love Tyler. (Tyler is Michael’s male caretaker, whom Koko likes a great deal.)

Q: What sort of visitors don’t you like?

K: Visitor dirty curious.

Q: Don’t like visitors that ask a lot of questions?

K: Frown bad.

Q: They’re interested, they want to find out about you.

K: Lip insult. (Lip is Koko’s invented word for woman.)

Q: Like it better if they don t ask a lot of questions?

K: Gorilla love.

Q: Do you like meeting new people?

Michael: Stupid no-good.

Q: What do you think of the new play yard?

M: Out good gorilla happy.

Q: How do you feel when you go outside?

M: Gorilla smile. Love eat apple. (Apple trees grow next to the outdoor yard.)

Q: What do gorillas like to do most?

K: Gorilla love eat good.

Q: What do gorillas say when scared?

K: Hurry drapes.

Q: What scares gorillas?

K: Koko knows.

Q: What scares them?

K: Trouble.

(Koko races across her facility. A noisy truck has stopped near her trailer.) Q: What’s wrong?

K: Afraid. Close drapes. Close drapes. Do that key. Do that key. (Koko points to the wooden door.) Afraid afraid afraid afraid.

The photo at the top was taken by Harmonium at the Dublin Zoo, and it is called Forever is a Long Time.

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