Koko, The Famous Gorilla Who Learned Sign Language & Loved Cats, Dies Aged 46

Koko, the famous gorilla known for her ability to communicate with sign language and her long-standing friendship with cat, has died in her sleep aged 46 in California.

“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement. “She was beloved and will be deeply missed.”

National Geographic announced the death by posting their famous cover featuring Koko taking her own picture in a mirror.

Dr Francine Patterson, who began teaching Koko sign language as part of an experiment back in 1974, claims that the gorilla understood over 1,000 words.

Since Patterson’s experiment began, there has been wide debate in the scientific community as to exactly how intelligent Koko was, and to what extent she was accurately communicating her emotions through sign language.

The Gorilla Foundation says it will honour Koko’s legacy with various projects including a sign language application for gorillas and children.

RIP Koko. Too pure for this blighted earth.