Koko, the extraordinary gorilla who mastered sign language, dies at 46

22 Juin, 2018, 00:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Koko The Gorilla Koko

Her keepers said she understood some spoken English, too. Koko would've turned 47 on July 4.

Koko was born in 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo.

"The caregiver showed Koko a skeleton and asked, "Is this alive or dead?' Koko signed, 'Dead, draped.' 'Draped" means 'covered up.' Then the caregiver asked, 'Where do animals go when they die?' Koko said, 'A comfortable hole.' Then she gave a kiss goodbye". Koko's vocabulary eventually doubled. "From an early age I was fascinated with Koko and she taught me so much about love, kindness, respect for animals, and our planet", one Facebook commenter wrote.

Patterson raised $12,500 to officially adopt Koko.

She liked to read and be read to, a blog post by The Gorilla Foundation said. Rest in Peace, Koko.

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She made headlines when she was featured by National Geographic as the magazine's 1978 cover girl (in a mirror selfie taken by herself, no less). Her relationship with a kitten named All Ball inspired the popular children's book "Koko's Kitten". "Koko, like us, can sense a person's nature and in this case, she was quickly drawn to Robin's warm heart".

The primate, who was famed for her fantastic sign language and communication skills, met various celebrities such as the late Robin Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea.

This kind of introduction followed Koko, showing both her cognitive abilities and her personality together, and will no doubt follow after Koko's death. Penny Patterson, her longtime caretaker and trainer, told The New York Times in 1975.

Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at protecting the species and their habitats, said in a statement that Koko will be remembered as "as the primary ambassador for her endangered species".

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