Did You Know There’s a Talking Gorilla? Watch the Video for Yourself …

ful frame portrait of a gorilla. The gorilla is looking off the the right. It is mostly dark colors with light fur around its brow and cheeks. Indistinct wavy green and yellow background.
© Kit Korzun/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 19, 2023

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Key Points:
  • It has not been easy to study the behavior of western mountain gorillas as they have been heavily hunted and therefore avoid humans.
  • Thousands of hours of footage were collected over 40 years and it seems to indicate that Koko was communicating via sign language.
  • In addition to the work detailed in this clip, further research has supported the theory that gorillas are intelligent.

This heartwarming account of Francine Patterson and her work with a female western lowland gorilla called Koko is mind-blowing. This remarkable and sometimes controversial relationship has spanned decades. Thousands of hours of footage were collected over 40 years and it seems to indicate that Koko was communicating via sign language. This raises the crucial question about what, if anything, animals are “thinking.” It also raises important ethical issues about the rights of animals. Watch the full remarkable video now.

Check Out the Video Below!

Where Do Western Lowland Gorillas Normally Live?

Western lowland gorilla

Western lowland gorillas live in social groups and are intelligent.

©Philippe Clement/Shutterstock.com

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered and their numbers are decreasing. They live in submontane (foothills and lower slopes) and lowland habitats. These primates have a preference for dense and undisturbed forests that have plenty of food. For gorillas that means lots of high-quality herbs, fruits, aquatic plants and seeds. To reach the aquatic plants, they will often travel to swampy areas. However, they may also be found nesting along savanna forest edges. In terms of elevation, they are seen between 1,640 feet (500 meters) above sea level and 6,234 feet (1,900 meters) above sea level.

Their range has significantly shrunk in the past few decades. Populations of gorillas are threatened by agriculture and aquaculture, transport infrastructure, climate change, and energy production to name just a few threats. As a result, they are only found in a handful of African countries including Nigeria, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

What Do We Know About Gorilla Behavior?

Two baby gorillas

Gorillas make facial expressions and are vocal, being able to produce 22 different sounds.

©Eric Gevaert/Shutterstock.com

It has not been easy to study the behavior of western mountain gorillas as they have been heavily hunted and therefore avoid humans. It is known that they live in social groups. Within the group, there is little conflict or aggression but silverbacks (mature males) can have explosive displays of dominance.

Gorillas make facial expressions and are vocal. They can produce 22 different sounds, including barks, hoots, screams, and grunts. In addition to the work detailed in this clip, further research has supported the theory that gorillas are intelligent. A recent study on blood supply to the brain has suggested that today’s gorillas are smarter than our human ancestors who walked the earth three million years ago!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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