World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Koko Remembers Robin Williams

Koko Remembers Robin Williams


Robin Williams' Cheerful Meeting with Koko in 2001

August 11, 2014

In 2001, Robin Williams was invited to meet Koko, the gorilla who communicates in sign language, at The Gorilla Foundation in northern California (see photo above). We had no idea what to expect, but everyone was in for a treat, and they became very special friends.

On Monday, Aug. 11, the day news broke of Williams' passing, Koko and Penny and Ron (Drs. Patterson and Cohn) were together when phone calls started coming in about the sad event. 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 (see photo bottom left).

More phone calls about the news came in, and Koko overheard one from a former colleague who had worked with Williams while he filmed a public service announcement for The Gorilla Foundation (based on his visit with Koko) in 2003. The colleague's voice broke at the end of the conversation. 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 (see photo bottom right).

We at the Gorilla Foundation are all greatly saddened by the news of Robin William’s death, and would like to offer his family our deepest condolences. We would also like to honor his life, which was a profound gift to humanity — and to other great apes like Koko — by sharing the following video of Robin’s powerfully emotional meeting with Koko in 2001:


Video of a Close Encounter of the Rarest Kind (2001)


In the above video, notice that Robin made Koko smile — something she hadn’t done for over 6 months, ever since her lifelong gorilla companion, Michael, passed away at the age of 27. But not only did Robin cheer up Koko, the effect was mutual, and Robin seemed transformed — from a high-energy entertainer, into a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy, who also happened to be really funny.

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. 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 it now becomes unforgettable for you too.


And when you remember Robin Williams, remember that he is not only one of the world’s most beloved entertainers, he is also one of the world’s most powerful ambassadors for great ape conservation.


Koko responds to the news of Robin's passing


Koko looks somber after it sinks in


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Afghanistan: UN Welcomes Conclusion Of Presidential Election

Pictured left to right: Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, and presidential candidates Dr.Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA More>>

ALSO:

UN Rights Chief: Sinking Of Mediterranean Migrant Boat Amounts To Mass Murder

Syrian refugees are rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, but others are not so fortunate. Photo: UNHCR/A. D'Amato More>>

UN: Ban Launches UN Ebola Response Mission

Ban Launches UN Ebola Response Mission; Advance Teams to Arrive in West Africa on Monday More>>

ALSO:

UN: Leonardo Dicaprio New UN Messenger Of Peace

Pictured left to right: United Nations Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten More>>

UN: 'Shocked And Saddened' By Vaccination Deaths In Syria

A Syrian boy gets his measles jab in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: UNICEF/Jordan-2013/ Alaa Malhas More>>

UN: Announces Mission To Combat Ebola

Ebola outbreak: a peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) wears a protective mask while on duty at UN offices in the capital city of Monrovia. UN Photo/Andrey Tsarkov More>>


Syria: Life-Saving Food Aid In Jeopardy For Millions Of Syrians

18 September 2014 – The United Nations World Food Programme ( WFP ) today warned that it is running out of funds to provide food for almost 6 million Syrians receiving its life-saving assistance. More>>

UN Warns: Hundreds Of Yemeni Families In Need Of Aid

Two displaced girls stand in front of the classroom where their family has been living in Aden, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/P. Rubio Larrauri More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news