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An unnamed female bonobo was the mother of the late Koba.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm

The name and origins of this bonobo are unknown although she was presumably born in a primate research facility where she was taught American Sign Language by a woman named Mary. As a result, she came to believe that she was human like her.

At some point, she had a son named Koba and raised him very lovingly, helping to teach him Sign Language and often playing with him. Koba would often ask his mother to tickle him and she would oblige.

One day, Mary had Koba and his mother show their signing skills to a large crowd of people. Mary then presented a non-signing chimpanzee named Wanda to the two bonobos and asked Koba to identify her. Like his mother, Koba identified himself with humans due to being raised to communicate with humans and not other apes. Thus, he referred to Wanda as a "big black caterpillar" and his mother agreed. That night, with Wanda in their cage, Koba had trouble sleeping, but his mother comforted him, telling him he was beautiful, like a banana or a kitten.

The next night, Mary's new alcoholic assistant, Roger, came into the cage and began abusing Koba for disobeying him earlier that day. Koba's mother bravely attacked Roger to defend her son, biting the drunken man's hand. In retaliation, Roger beat Koba's mother with a sack of oranges until she retreated into the corner of the cage with Koba, hiding her son behind her. Roger then stormed out, but not before deriding the two apes as "stupid animals." Koba's mother then embraced her son, who had been traumatized by the experience. Koba asked his mother to tickle him for comfort and she obliged, tickling him until he fell asleep.

Tragically, Koba's mother died as a result of the injuries she received from being beaten by Roger. When Koba woke up, his mother was dead with her arms still around him, although her eyes were still open. When Mary discovered this, she was distraught and closed Koba's mother's eyes so she could rest in peace. She then took Koba outside to play and while he was outside, removed his mother's corpse from the cage.


Although he didn't understand at the time that she was dead, Koba missed his mother and often looked and asked for her in the days after her death, to which Mary gently told him that his mother were gone, but Koba still didn't understand.

When he was sent to the abusive Tommy, the only toy Koba had was his stuffed kitten, which he affectionately held onto because it still had his mother's scent on it. After becoming a lab ape, Koba still missed his mother and when Amol signed to him, the first person to do so in a long time, Koba felt as if his mother were embracing him again.

After spending years as a lab ape and finally being derided by Steven Jacobs as a simple animal, Koba reflected on all the pain and suffering humans had caused him, such as taking his mother from him, and as a result developed a strong hatred for humans. He concluded that his mother and Mary had lied to him that he was human. After his intelligence was enhanced by the ALZ-113, the first thing Koba remembered in his now more vivid memories was his mother's face.

A few weeks later, when witnessing Caesar close the eyes of a dead ape like Mary had his mother, Koba had a flashback of the short, happy life he had had with his mother, and the day she had been killed, which was when he finally understood for the first time that she had been dead when he woke up from being tickled by her.

Koba still sometimes thought about his mother. In Caesar's Story, Maurice listed the murder of Koba's mother as just one of the many tragedies Koba had suffered at the hands of humans, and also mentioned that Koba "never understood why his mother was killed", which implies that Koba wanted to, but was never able to find closure about that part of his life.


More to come...


  • Though Koba is the first and only known bonobo to appear in the Planet of the Apes films, his mother might be one of the only two bonobos to appear in the series.
Planet of the Apes - 20th Century Reboot Series
Planet of the Apes (CE) Movies
Rise of the Planet of the Apes | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | War for the Planet of the Apes | Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
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