Felix Stalder on Thu, 21 Jun 2018 11:48:05 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> RIP: Koko

PRESS RELEASE for Immediate Release

The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko

June 20, 2018 | http://www.koko.org/node/2257

Woodside, CA      Koko — the gorilla known for her extraordinary mastery
of sign language, and as the primary ambassador for her endangered
species — passed away yesterday morning in her sleep at the age of 46.

Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and
an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and
will be deeply missed.

Koko, a western lowland gorilla, was born Hanabi-ko (Japanese for
“Fireworks Child”) on July 4, 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo. Dr.
Francine “Penny” Patterson began working with Koko the next year,
famously teaching her sign language. Dr. Patterson and Dr. Ronald Cohn
moved Koko and the project to Stanford in 1974 and went on to establish
The Gorilla Foundation. While at Stanford the project expanded to
include a second western lowland gorilla, Michael. In 1979 Koko and The
Gorilla Foundation moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains where Ndume joined
them as a fellow ambassador for their species.

Koko’s capacity for language and empathy has opened the minds and hearts
of millions. She has been featured in multiple documentaries and
appeared on the cover of National Geographic twice. The first cover, in
October of 1978, featured a photograph Koko had taken of herself in a
mirror. The second issue, in January of 1985, included the story of Koko
and her kitten, All Ball. Following the article, the book Koko’s Kitten
was published and continues to be used in elementary schools worldwide.
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.

The foundation will continue to honor Koko’s legacy and advance our
mission with ongoing projects including conservation efforts in Africa,
the great ape sanctuary on Maui, and a sign language application
featuring Koko for the benefit of both gorillas and children.

For press inquiries or to make a tax-deductible donation to the Koko
Fund, please contact Joy Chesbrough, The Gorilla Foundation’s Chief
Development Officer, at: 1-800-ME-GO-APE ext 14.

For general inquiries and condolences, please email kokolove@koko.org

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