TGF’s Email Requesting Donations for Ndume’s Move to Cincinnati Zoo is Shameful

I’ve taken a moment to highlight and question (in red) statements from Penny Patterson’s latest money-grab email to potential donors. This last attempt at exploiting Ndume is shameful, even by Gorilla Foundation standards.

The Email:

Dear Friend,

When Koko passed away in June of 2018, we received an outpouring of condolence messages, and sincerely thank you for that.  Koko’s long-time companion, Ndume, grieved her loss along with us and the rest of the world. He continues to show us that he misses her dearly to this day — as do we.

Now, Ndume must endure another life-altering situation — leaving his sanctuary home of the past 27 years at The Gorilla Foundation for a court-ordered transfer to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Please make a contribution today to

help Ndume through this difficult time

We and other experts on gorilla behavior and health do not believe that it is in the best interests of Ndume, now 37 (considered elderly for a gorilla), to return to a zoo. Who are these “other experts?” We did everything in our power to allow Ndume to stay at The Gorilla Foundation, but (based on an ownership agreement) we must now comply with the judge’s order to work cooperatively with the Zoo. Sad that a judge’s order is what it takes for TGF to “work cooperatively” to do what’s best for Ndume. We are pleased that the Court agreed that it is important for us to share our expertise (“expertise”? wth?) with the Zoo and work together to make his transfer as safe and stress-free as possible.

We urgently need your support to protect Ndume from

the potential hazards of moving him from sanctuary to zoo (What are these “potential hazards” that you “TGF” need funding for? How does that work when Cincinnati Zoo is managing the transfer?)

Transferring Ndume safely is going to require a great deal of dedicated effort because we are entering uncharted territory. Please leave it up to Cincinnati Zoo. Fortunately they do have experience in gorilla transports. Ndume would be the first gorilla ever to be transferred from a long-term (3-decade) sanctuary environment to a zoo.


Your donation will help Ndume deal with (really?????):

Being crate-trained and transported in it at his advanced age (pretty sure Cinci Zoo is managing this)
30 to 45 days of isolation in quarantine (without outdoor  access) (ummm you TGF have kept Ndume isolated from other gorillas for decades)
Adapting to public visitors (which had has not tolerated well) (you “TGF” will literally have nothing to do with this)
Interacting with new gorillas as an elderly introverted male (why on earth do you “TGF” need money for this?)
Being The stress of giving up everything he has known and loved for the past 27 years. (remind us again how a donation to TGF will help)

You can help us increase the probability of success — for him to both survive and thrive! (Ndume’s relocation/transport is on Cinci Zoo. Cash donations to you TGF will not help Ndume “survive”. And since he will be living back home at Cincinnati Zoo how will donating to TGF help him “thrive!”?)

Watch the Video and Get to Know Ndume


Ndume has lived with us at The Gorilla Foundation for most of his life. He came to us at the age of 10, following time spent in zoos where he did not fare well on public display (with a strong arm, good aim and a habit of throwing unmentionables!).

When he arrived at TGF, it seemed he had never walked on grass or seen the moon (“seemed”??? And btw, you’ve kept him in a trailer). Koko and everyone else fell in love with him, and in our care he settled down and thrived in our peaceful sanctuary surroundings with Koko as his companion.

With the prospect of this stressful, risky and unprecedented transition, we are very concerned about the outcome! The “outcome” is Cinci Zoo’s responsibility and expense. How is donating to TGF helping?

By supporting the Gorilla Foundation today, you will be helping us protect and support Ndume in every way we can, including traveling with him and staying with him in Cincinnati, to monitor his wellbeing throughout the process – which could take months to complete safely. Per the agreement: “Zoo and foundation staffers will accompany the animal and a foundation caregiver “is welcome to stay in Cincinnati for an additional two months after transfer and participate in Ndume’s acclimation,” court records state. “A second caregiver is also welcome on-site at [the zoo] during the first week following Ndume’s transfer.”

Your support will also help the Gorilla Foundation continue our core mission — including new conservation education technology, such as the new Koko App (in which Koko teaches us to sign) (Penny’s live-in partner and TGF’s “Executive Director” (or whatever his most recent title is) Gary Stanley been asking for funding while creating this app for years, but he just cannot seem to get it up. He is either unqualified, a grifter, or both. Creating an app is not rocket science. It happens every day) and an illustrated children’s book,  A Wish for Koko, which is both a tribute to Koko’s life and a path to the future of human-gorilla relations.

Koko and Ndume’s Continuing Legacy


With your support, we can help Ndume survive a transfer to the Cincinnati Zoo and make both an immediate and a lasting impact for all of the world’s gorillas.

With much love and appreciation,



Penny Patterson, Ph.D.

President, CEO and Director of Research & Care

The Gorilla Foundation /

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s