Once again we’re reminded about the remarkable sensitivity of animals. These photos of a mourning Koko the gorilla have been released by The Gorilla Foundation and show her immediate reaction when told of the news of her friend Robin Williams’s passing. Via a press release, The Gorilla Foundation noted that in the wake of Williams’s death, the phone at the facility that Koko lives in started ringing incessantly. ‘After the first call, Koko came to Dr. Patterson with an inquiring look on her face. Dr. Patterson explained that “we have lost a dear friend, Robin Williams. Koko was quiet and looked very thoughtful’. [watch Robin Williams and Koko tickling each other]
The press release goes onto say: ‘About a half an hour later, Koko signed to Penny: “CRY LIP” (LIP is Koko’s sign for woman). At the end of the day, Koko became very somber, with her head bowed and her lip quivering (photo available upon request).
‘Koko and Robin’s encounter is a supreme example of how humans and gorillas can overcome interspecies boundaries and express the highest form of empathy — embracing differences,” Dr. Patterson said. “Robin’s ability to just ‘hang out’ with Koko, a gorilla, and in minutes become one of her closest friends, was extraordinary and unforgettable for Koko.
We hope that when you remember Robin Williams, you’ll remember that he is not only one of the world’s most beloved entertainers but also one of the world’s most powerful ambassadors for great ape conservation’.
Koko, who has been feted for her ability to understand and use sign language, met Williams for the first time in 2001 and filmed a Public Services Announcement with Williams for the Gorilla Foundation in 2004.