Koko, The World’s Most Famous Signing Gorilla, Dies At 46

Koko, The World’s Most Famous Signing Gorilla, Dies At 46

We are so sad to report that Koko, one of the world’s most beloved gorillas, has passed away in her sleep at the age of 46. A gorilla’s average life span is 35–40 years.

Koko, a western lowland gorilla, was born on the Fourth of July in 1971. According to Francine “Penny” Patterson, her long-time trainer, Koko was able to engage in 2-way communication ever since she was an infant. This brilliant creature came to understand more than 1,000 signs and approximately 2,000 English words.

Koko was also known for her incredible maternal instincts. On her 44th birthday, she was granted her ultimate wish when she adopted two kittens.

In 2001, Koko famously befriend Robin Williams in a now-viral video. The pair played, joked around, tickled each other and formed an instant bond. In 2014, Koko mourned Williams’ passing.

“Her impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world,” the Gorilla Foundation said.

The Gorilla Foundation says it will honor Koko’s legacy by working on wildlife conservation in Africa, a great ape sanctuary in Hawaii and a new sign language app.

Koko and the Gorilla Foundation/facebook

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