When news breaks of a beloved superstar, people across the globe mourn in unison. Knowing they will no longer be here on earth is often too emotional to fathom. Thankfully, we have photos and videos of them that will keep their memory alive for generations to come.
One such superstar tragically passed away in her sleep, leaving us all at a loss for words. Koko the gorilla was one of the most treasured on the planet. She shattered records by completely mastering sign language, showing the vast mental capabilities apes possess.
Koko was born July 4, 1971, at the San Francisco Zoo. Here, she began her studying of sign language at a very early age. Even at a young age, workers knew she was something truly special. She was under the direct care and education of psychologist Penny Patterson.
One of Koko’s most beloved pastimes was story time. She loved when someone would take the time to read to her and would often make purring sounds when she really enjoyed a part of a book.
According to The Gorilla Foundation: “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.”
Koko had mastered over 1,000 American Sign Language signs and could accurately communicate with humans. This, alone, garnered her worldwide love and attention because it was the first time we had ever felt we could adequately communicate with another species.
Not only was she able to communicate via ASL, she exhibited a unique care and affection for other animals by caring and tending to a kitten. She also learned how to play a recorder.
Though her time was short on earth, her impact will last for generations to come. She won’t soon be forgotten and will always be hailed as one of the most brilliant and iconic apes the world has ever known.
Check out the heartwarming video, below, of Koko receiving a kitten for her birthday.