Koko the gorilla who mastered sign language dies age 46

A gorilla who learned to communicate in sign language has died at the age of 46.

Western lowland gorilla Koko died at the Gorilla Foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.

View this post on Instagram

#flashbackfriday All species are capable of love!

A post shared by Koko-Gorilla Foundation (@kokoandthegorillafoundation) on

Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo and Dr Francine Patterson began teaching the gorilla sign language that became part of a Stanford University project in 1974.

Koko appeared in many TV documentaries and twice in National Geographic. The magazine's 1978 cover featured a photo that the gorilla had taken in a mirror.

A foundation spokesman said it will honour Koko's legacy with a sign language application for the benefit of gorillas and children, as well as other projects.

More on this topic

Several animals injured after fire at National Reptile Zoo in Co Kilkenny

Cameras attached to sharks in South Africa reveal ‘spectacular’ footage

40% drop in number of waterbirds spending winter in Ireland

Creators get the balance right with new Netflix natural history series

More in this Section

Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK expected to be announced

Police horse dies after falling onto metal pole at football match in UK

Sri Lankan police arrest 40 suspects after bombings as death toll rises

Theresa May to convene Cabinet as MPs return to Westminster


Lifestyle

Ask a counsellor: My husband has a drink problem – what do I do?

Vicky McClure sings out about dementia on BBC

More From The Irish Examiner