Robin Williams Said Meeting Koko The Gorilla Was An 'Unforgettable' Experience
| Last updated
A touching clip showing Robin Williams and Koko the gorilla has resurfaced following her death.
The pair met in 2001 at The Gorilla Foundation in California and appeared to hit it off straight away - with the two communicating using the sign-language Koko had been taught - when Robin attended the foundation to take part in a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers wild gorillas face due to poaching.
The foundations president Dr Penny Patterson said Penny Patterson said: "Koko instantly connected with Robin. Koko, like us, can sense a person's nature and in this case, she was quickly drawn to Robin's warm heart."
Robin was equally as impressed with Koko, saying at the time "Meeting Koko was unforgettable.
"Koko used sign-language to ask me to play with her. We shared interspecies laughter. I realised how important the work of the Gorilla Foundation is for the future of Koko and her species."
Robin went on to become an honoury co-chair of The Gorilla Foundation's campaign to create the Maui Ape Preserve.
After his tragic death in 2014, Dr Penny was given the unpleasant task of breaking the news to Koko.
In a statement Dr Penny said Koko had signed the word for 'cry' and had looked 'quiet and thoughtful' after she was told of Robin's death.
She said: "Robin made Koko smile - something she hadn't done for over six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, passed away.
"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, the gorilla known for sign language, has passed away at the age of 46. Here she is on the cover of the 1985 National Geographic. #RIPKoko pic.twitter.com/U95wNsGdWy
- Nat Geo Channel (@NatGeoChannel) June 21, 2018
"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 spend time 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." Bloody hell, is someone chopping onions?
Koko's death at 46 was announced earlier today by the foundation, which said: "Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy.
"She was beloved and will be deeply missed."