Watch this orangutan play with a fidget spinner

Koko and Miss Patterson, a Stanford student, practicing sign language.
Image: Bettmann Archive/ getty images

Koko, the beloved gorilla best known for mastering sign language, died in her sleep at age 46 on Wednesday.

The Gorilla Foundation announced Koko’s death via social media on Thursday, saying she “touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy.”

Koko, whose full name was Hanabi-ko (meaning “Fireworks Child” in Japanese,) was born on July 4, 1971. Over the years the western lowland gorilla learned more than 1,000 different signs, developed a love of cats, worked alongside many humans including sign language instructor Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson, and inspired several documentaries and the popular children’s book, Koko’s Kitten.

Her willingness to interact with people and her eagerness to learn allowed the world to observe a great deal about her species, and throughout the course of her life Koko made many celebrity friends, including Mister Rogers and Robin Williams.

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After news of Koko’s death reached social media, fans showed an outpouring of love for the gorilla, thanking her for all her contributions.

The Gorilla Foundation noted in a press release that it will continue to honor “Koko’s legacy” and work with wildlife.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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