Friday, June 22, 2018

An Amazing Ape Is Gone

Koko, the ape (female western lowland gorilla to be more exact) was born on Independence Day 1971. During her life, she learned to comprehend 2,000 words and to sign 1,000 words and she could express its thoughts and feelings to us via sign language. Sadly, at the age of 46, she has passed on to the great jungle in the sky. She was somewhat younger than a lowland gorilla can live as they sometimes live into their young fifties. More at the source.
She had a passion for kittens in the way of a surrogate baby gorilla, I suppose since breeding attempts had all failed. Yet, that she loved her kittens was obvious.

When one of her cats was killed after being hit by  car, her keeper Penny Patterson (Francine "Penny" Patterson), asked her what she thought. Koko's response was truly amazing but confirmed what many have believed for years - animals have emotions. "Koko adopted a kitten called All Ball and when the feline was hit and killed by a car in 1984, Patterson was filmed asking Koko what had happened. Koko signed in response: “Cat, cry, have-sorry, Koko-love.”" Her response also confirmed something else, some animals can think and express themselves more than we ever imagined - all we had to do was find the method for them to use so that we could understand them. 

I wonder if they ever asked her what she thought about mankind and of course wonder at what might have been her answer. I think she maybe could have taught us something about life and humanity had we been brave enough to have asked the right questions and then to have truly listened to her answers.

More about Koko here and here.

All the best,
Glenn B

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