Koko, The Gorilla Who Learned Sign Language, Dies At 46

June 21, 2018
Gorilla, Hands, Close Up

(Photo via Dreamstime)


Koko the gorilla first began learning sign language in 1974.

She was able to master words and phrases, and was capable of communicating with her longtime trainer, Dr. Francine Patterson.  

Unfortunately, the 46-year-old western passed away in her sleep Tuesday at the Gorilla Foundation's preserve in the California Santa Cruz mountains.  The foundation said Koko's "capacity for language and empathy opened the minds and hearts of millions."

The foundation plans to honor Koko's legacy with a sign language application for the benefit of gorillas and children that features Koko, as well as other projects.