Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, found someone new to jam with — Koko the gorilla. The 45-year-old Koko strummed away on the strings of the bass as Flea laid beside her marveling. Flea visited the gorilla in her home in Woodside, California, while taking a break from touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“This is the greatest thing to ever happen to me,” Flea said as Koko continued to strum the bass. “This is a day that I will never forget in my life.”
The inquisitive Koko played with the knobs and inspected the instrument before giving the strings a gorilla kiss. As Flea sat up next her, Koko began to strum again, looking to the veteran Chili Pepper for approval.
According to Rolling Stone, Flea visited Koko and shared the video with the hope to raise money for Koko’s Gorilla Foundation. Flea shared photos of he and Koko on all of his social media accounts and asked that Red Hot Chili Pepper fans consider buying a Koko t-shirt.
Flea’s activism for the animal kingdom is nothing new. True Activist reported in January that the Chili Pepper was so concerned about the declining bee population that he built his own apiary with more than 200,000 bees. And both Flea and his Red Hot Chili Pepper front man Anthony Kiedis have eliminated most animal products from their diet. Flea only eats fish and eggs with his plant-based diet and Kiedis became vegan after both Chili Peppers educated themselves on developing healthier lifestyle habits.
How Flea came to make Koko’s acquaintance, however, might be more than just the bassist putting forth some animal activism. According to the Gorilla Foundation, Koko is a fan of Flea and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And Flea isn’t the first famous person to hang out without the almost equally famous gorilla.
Koko has cuddled in the past with William Shatner, Leonardo DiCaprio, and most memorably, the late Robin Williams.
But according to her caretakers at the Gorilla Foundation, Koko’s favorite celebrity encounter was with none other than Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. According to Open Culture, Koko’s encounter with Mr. Rogers resulted in her removing his shoes and socks and cuddling him.
Koko’s jam session with Flea happened not too long after another special event in the gorilla’s life — her birthday celebration. As previously reported by Inquisitr last year, Koko was presented with a litter of kittens for her birthday. The gorilla had taken care of pet cats in the past, but sadly they had all passed away.
Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo and loaned to her caregiver, Francine Patterson, for doctoral research. Patterson would eventually become the gorilla’s caregiver and Koko would make headlines for her ability to communicate through sign language. According to Patterson, Koko knows more than 1,000 hand gestures similar to American Sign Language.
Koko’s ability to sign may be part of the reason behind Flea’s visit. The Gorilla Foundation’s strategic plan for 2016 includes improving the habitat for Koko and her male counterpart Ndume. The hope is that by improving on the seven-acre facility, The Gorilla Foundation can expand their gorilla family and bring in caregivers from all over the world to learn from Koko and Ndume and improve communication between gorillas and humans, thus improving their care in captivity. Other goals of the foundation include raising awareness and providing education and research to preserve the gorilla population in the wild.
By employing the use of Flea and social media, the foundation is obviously hoping that the more than 28 million followers on the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be so touched by the interaction between Flea and Koko that they’ll pull out their credit cards, checkbooks, and loose change to make their gorilla dreams come true.
[Photos by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/Koko & The Gorilla Foundation Official Facebook]