Koko was a famous gorilla who could communicate using sign language. A research foundation studied her for years. On June 21, the foundation said she died in Woodside, California. She was 46.
“The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko,” the foundation said in a statement. It said Koko died in her sleep.
Koko was one of a few primates who could communicate using sign language. Koko could also understand some spoken English, the foundation said.
Koko was born on July 4, 1971, at San Francisco Zoo. Because of the date, she was named Hanabiko (Japanese for “Fireworks Child”). In the year after Koko was born, animal psychologist Francine Patterson began working with her. Patterson taught Koko a version of American Sign Language.
Koko’s sign language vocabulary was over 1,100 signs, according to the foundation. (Reuters)