Home » Business News » 2011 » June » June 8, 2011

Koko Haiku Contest Launches via Twitter to Celebrate Koko's Birthday

June 8, 2011 - Redwood City, CA

  • Fans encouraged to join contest, share famous gorilla's impact
  • Enter by Tweeting a Haiku poem celebrating Koko to @kokotweets; entries must include hashtag #kokohaiku in the body of the tweet
  • Winners announced on Koko's birthday; special prizes awarded

The Gorilla Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on interspecies communication and home to Koko, the famous lowland gorilla who can speak to us through the use of American Sign Language (ASL), today announced a Twitter-based Haiku contest to celebrate Koko's upcoming 40th birthday on July 4th. The contest will give Koko's fan base an opportunity to share a Haiku poem via Twitter expressing the impact she has had on their lives and the world at large in celebration of her milestone birthday. The Gorilla Foundation will choose winners who will be announced on her birthday.

To be a part of the celebration, write a Haiku poem (17 syllables total with three lines of 5-7-5 syllables) expressing the impact Koko has had on you or the world. Each line of the Haiku should be separated by a period, comma or slash. All entries must be submitted via Twitter to @kokotweets, and include the hashtag #kokohaiku. A sample entry follows:

@kokotweets Koko gives us love, humanity sits up straight, depth of being known #kokohaiku

Koko has taught the world so much about the depth and breadth of emotions great apes experience in addition to the strength of their intellect. Through her use of ASL, Koko communicates: sharing jokes, creating and naming works of art and expressing grief and sadness over loss. Koko can also read written words, and form messages using her 'word and phrase cards.'

Koko has many great years ahead of her and has expressed her hopes to see her three wishes realized: to have a baby, for people to be "polite" to all gorillas, and the creation of a tropical safe-haven for gorillas in need.

Twitter Haiku Contest
The contest will begin on June 8, 2011 at 12:01am PT and will close on June 30, 2011 at 11:59pm PT. On July 4, 2011, first, second and third place prize winners will be announced. Abbreviated rules follow. For Official Rules, visit

  • Write an inspiring Haiku poem (17 syllables total with three lines of 5-7-5 syllables) expressing the impact Koko has had on you or the world.
  • Each line of the Haiku poem should be separated by period, comma or slash.

To be eligible, all entries must be submitted via Twitter, where contestants will need to tweet their entry to @kokotweets and include the hashtag #kokohaiku in the body of the entry. Example: @kokotweets koko gives us love, humanity sits up straight, depth of being known #kokohaiku

  • Entrants must also follow Koko on Twitter @kokotweets found here:
  • Entrants are encouraged to become Koko's fan on Facebook as well as share their entries here:!/pages/Koko-The-Gorilla-Foundation/289961865248.
  • Entrants may submit as many poems as they like.
  • No purchase necessary; void where prohibited.
  • Must be 18 or older and a U.S. resident to qualify.
  • Winners will be announced on July 4, 2011.
  • Prizes include:
    • 1st Place: Fine art reproduction of Koko's painting of "Love"
    • 2nd Place: The book Koko-Love, signed by Dr. Penny Patterson, plus the PBS/NATURE Documentary, A Conversation with Koko on DVD
    • 3rd Place: 12" Koko Plush

Supporting Quote from Dr. Francine "Penny" Patterson, Koko's Mentor:
"Each year Koko helps plan her birthday menu. Lately, she's been dropping hints about her upcoming party and presents using her communication cards including 'Happy Birthday,' 'Cake,' and 'Party Party Party.'"

Useful Links:

About The Gorilla Foundation
The Gorilla Foundation is dedicated to the preservation, protection and well being of gorillas through interspecies communication research and education -- Conservation through Communication. The Foundation was established in 1976 and is best known for its groundbreaking work with two western lowland gorillas, Koko and Michael, who became adept at using American Sign Language. The results are published in numerous research papers, books and videos available in our bibliography.

The Gorilla Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and is underwritten by donations from individuals, grants from foundations and corporations, and educational product sales. The Foundation receives no support from government sources.

Image Available:

Add to Digg Bookmark with Add to Newsvine

Joanna Kulesa
Kulesa Faul, Inc./for The Gorilla Foundation
(408) 806-9201
Email Contact


Comment on this story