Demand Relocation for Solitary Gorilla Ndume, Koko's Surviving Companion. No Great Ape Should Live Alone!

  • by: kimberly leo
  • recipient: Kristen Lukas SSP (Species Survival Plan) Gorilla Coordinator , AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) affiliate

Koko the Gorilla is gone. RIP.

Now what happens to the lone Gorilla Ndume who is still currently living at the Gorilla Foundation?

The Gorilla Foundation was started with Koko. Koko was sold by the San Francisco Zoo to a private owner Penny Patterson, to become an experiment subject. That experiment lasted Koko's whole life She never had a Gorilla Family.  She never lived as a Gorilla.

Contrary to information put forth through the years by The Gorilla Foundation, none of the Gorilla's co-habitated. Koko, Michael, and Ndume have all lived separately. Koko and Michael before her, sadly never knew a Gorilla Family. Ndume is still living there. Alone.

Born at the Cincinnati Zoo, Ndume was sent to the Gorilla Foundation in 1991. He has lived without a Gorilla Family for 27 years. Ndume was never part of the Gorilla Foundation project. He was brought there to be the boyfriend of Koko, which never happened. Was it ever the real reason, or was it a smoke screen to keep up the fable? Who knows. What sources close to the Gorilla Foundation do know, is that Ndume was always second to Koko. Ignored for the most part.

Why was Ndume allowed to stay at the Gorilla Foundation in isolation for 27 years? Why is he still there? Ndume is owned by the Cinncinati Zoo. He was born into the system of the Association Zoos and Aquariums. The AZA's Species Survival Plan controls their captive Gorilla population. Allegedly the SSP intimated to sources years ago that they didn't want to move Ndume because it might be detrimental to Koko. While Koko and Ndume had view of eachother at times, it was not constant and they did not co-habitate. Using that reasoning may or may not have just been an excuse. That said, what now?  

Koko was a senior who had health issues for many years.  An exit plan for Ndume should have been in place, in the event of Koko's passing.  How long must Ndume wait to be in a proper Home with a Great Ape social group?  At 36 years old, will he be left to live out his days in isolation at The Gorilla Foundation, or will he be transferred someplace he can be surrounded by a Gorilla Family?  

Myself and others have contacted Members of the AZA Gorilla Team, including SSP Coordinator Kristin Lukas, who I have been told is the person who holds the cards. In this case who holds Ndumes life. We have inquired about Ndume's future. We have notes reasons why he should be moved out of The Gorilla Foundation to a facility where he can have a Gorilla Family, or if necessary possibly be housed in a mixed species enclosure. I personally presented a couple ideas as a starting point to work towards valid housing options. Not one person I contacted has had the courtesy to reply.  

The Gorilla Foundation has posted to their Facebook page many times that they are working on options to bring in more Gorillas. In my opinion this is outrageous. Where are these Gorillas coming from? Does the AZA/SSP plan to send them more Gorillas? If not, will The Gorilla Foundation once again retain an Animal Trafficer to procure one from the wild as they did with Michael?! The Gorilla Foundation is not an approved AZA facility. It is not a Gorilla Sanctuary.

So we at Team Ndume seek answers to what the plans are for Ndume's Future. ... No Great Ape should live in isolation. The SSP has allowed this to happen to Ndume for 27 years. It is time they step up and find him a proper Home and a Gorilla Family. Its time they be transparent about their plans.

Kristen Lukas, Please respond with what the SSP intends to do, to provide Ndume with a proper Home and a Gorilla Family.  

For more information regarding Ndume's situation, Please visit #TeamNdume on Facebook. This page is run by a former Gorilla Foundation caregiver. Independantly, I have also written several posts to my personal blog at Search "Ndume".

Please Sign and Share this Petition. There needs to be Awareness to this situation. We can't let Ndume be the forgotten one. Help Team Ndume get answers. Help Ndume get a proper Home and a Gorilla Family.

You can also email SSP Gorilla Coordinator Kristen Lukas at

Thank You for Caring and for being a Voice for Ndume!  

This Petition is an effort from Kimberly Leo in association with Team Ndume.

#NdumeTheGorilla #KokoTheGorilla #TheGorillaFoundation #SanFranciscoZoo #CinncinattiZoo #AZA #SSP #Animals #Primates #GreatApes #Gorillas #Chimpanzees #Bonobos  #Wildlife #Nature #JaneGoodall #DianFossey #Harambe #AnimalWelfare 

Update #2about a year ago
Apologies for not updating sooner. ... The Cincinnati Zoo announced Oct 26, 2018, that it would be suing The Gorilla Foundation for Custody of Ndume. The agreement between the two, was upon the passing of Koko, Ndume would return to his birthplace, The Cincinnati Zoo, who has continued to retain ownership. One of many articles:
Update #1about a year ago
Great News! Ndume is Going Home to Cincinnati Zoo! Thank you all for the help! This has probably been in the works, but our Voices and keeping Ndume's plight public helped! I will keep Petition going so Voices for Ndume can still be heard. He isn't out of there yet! Read my blog post for information and the link to the Press Release from Cincinnati Zoo.
Also follow #TeamNdume Facebook page for continuous updates!
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