Rare meeting and wisdom with Koko the Gorilla - 24 Sep 2011  
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Rare meeting and wisdom with Koko the Gorilla.
Journalist Alex Hannaford of UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph, was recently granted an unprecedented encounter with Koko, the 40-year-old lowland gorilla who has made international headlines over the past decades with her demonstrated ability to communicate with sign language that has opened new understanding about the intelligence and emotions of animals.

Mr. Hannaford arrived at Koko’s home in the hills of California, USA, where he was introduced by Dr. Penny Patterson, a researcher who has been with Koko almost her entire life.

In greeting Mr. Hannaford, the 300-pound primate gently embraced him and led him around her room. As Mr. Hannaford showed Koko a photo of his newborn baby, she responded by kissing the picture in affection, and later, in sensing that he was still nervous, Koko signaled for Mr. Hannaford to lay down beside her.

Dr. Patterson explained that among the things learned about great apes through studying Koko is that they have a great capacity for empathy. She went on to say that these great animals are well aware of their often-horrific treatment by humans, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature notes has rendered all gorilla subspecies as either endangered or critically endangered.

Both Michael, a silverback gorilla who was Koko's mate until he passed away, and Koko herself have communicated their understanding of witnessing gorilla slaughter.
In Coco's case, Dr. Patterson said that she had neglected to preview a DVD before Koko had seen it. When she looked up, she saw that Koko was watching a gruesome bushmeat scene.

The next day, as she was going through some mail, Koko picked up an insert from a newspaper. Holding up a section full of pictures of meat, she said in sign language, "Shame there.”

Mr. Alex Hannaford, many thanks for sharing your touching meeting with Koko as we also send our gratitude to Koko and Dr. Penny Patterson for continuing to expand our understanding of the kindhearted gorillas. Blessed be such efforts in fostering our love for all beings toward a world where compassion and respect prevails.

During a March 2009 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of the deep wisdom and sensitivity of our gentle animal co-inhabitants, who only wish to assist humanity in being kinder stewards of the ecosphere.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: When you love an animal truly, he or she will communicate with you in one way or another because that is the trust that you build through your mutual love.

But more important is that we don’t eat the flesh of any animal. Some persons who have experience with animals say that they are very sensitive to people. They would know who is good, who is not good for them.

By not consuming animal products anymore, all the animals know that we consider their existence to be as important as our own and for the survival of the planet.

They will bless us to protect our lives and the planet. They came here with the blessing to help us, to bless us; but it’s a pity that we kill our helpers and friends.

If we have respect for their lives, then we will have the best chance to show them that we are worthy to be their friend and the inner connection and communication will begin from here. Very simple.

And Heaven will bless us also, beyond our imagination.


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