Tag Archives: fur babies

today I want to meet koko

8 Nov

This is the same Koko we all saw documentaries about in elementary school, right? Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, Koko is a forty-year-old female gorilla who understands about 2,000 words of spoken English and knows how to communicate using about 1,000 American Sign Language gestures. She was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and lives in San Mateo County, California. It’s unclear whether Koko really understands the meanings of the signs she uses or whether she just knows that using certain ones will result in a reward from her trainers or other people, almost like a dog knows that when she sits on command she’ll get a treat, but many primates have been proven to be smarter than dogs – and Koko also has been known to use signs in ways that she hasn’t been taught, and in circumstances where there may be no reward for her communication. For instance, no one ever taught Koko the word “ring”, but she did know the signs for “finger” and “bracelet”, and once combined them to refer to a ring – “finger-bracelet”.

Watching Koko’s behavior in this video, it’s difficult to believe that she only uses the communicative signs she has been taught to get something from her trainers. At various points during her interaction with Robin Williams, she seems to understand enjoyment, curiosity, affection, and humor. I doubt it’s possible to get to meet Koko unless you’re Robin Williams or something (why don’t people contact ME asking me if I want to meet famous and smart gorillas?? Because I do!) but that would be one of the coolest things I could think of. Except I would probably start crying and Koko would think I was a big baby.

today I want a pet sloth

12 Sep

File this under the “nearly impossible” dreams list. Well, okay, it’s not impossible, but apparently sloths are EXTREMELY rare in the United States and run about $5,000. Yeah, okay. They’re also supposed to be kind of a hassle to take care of, except for the fact that they sleep most of the day and only poop once a month and expel 1/3 of their body weight all at once. Cool/gross and that’s a lot of poop. I think it’s easier to get one in South America – yet another reason for me to move there, since all I want to do right now is get my hands on one of these and spend the whole entire day cuddling with it. Dang. I guess I’ll settle for obsessing over these pictures for now…

Edited to add: If these pictures didn’t convince you of the adorableness and value of sloths, this video of the sloths at the world’s only sloth orphanage, the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, will. And if this video doesn’t convince you, you have no heart.