Thursday, 21 June 2018

a notable non-human ape

Having imparted a life time of lessons that demonstrates that many of the hallmarks of humanity are far from unique to humans and helped us to understand and appreciate that we are not outside of Nature and the natural world is not ours to exploit, the world pines for one of its most influential and effective ambassadors in Koko the Gorilla, who passed away earlier this week in her sleep at the age of forty-six.
Reading her obituary reduced me to tears, and I hope that we are able to take those aforementioned lessons to heart.  Just shy of her next birthday, she was named Hanabiko (花火子, Fireworks Child) by her care-takers at the San Francisco Zoo because she was born on the Fourth of July—American Independence Day. Koko herself famously had a pet kitten whom she named All Ball and mourned its accidental death, signing “bad, sad, bad—frown, cry, frown, sad.”