With the recent climate summit in Paris, we were able to behold some of the most powerful people on Earth deliver up rousing speeches. However, it’s the message of a globally renowned member of an entirely different species that is making the biggest waves of all. Koko the Gorilla has made her sentiments on climate change well known through the use of sign language.
Having been born in the San Francisco Zoo in 1971, Koko started learning American Sign Language at the young age of one. According to Koko’s trainers, she was able to learn the vocabulary at the same rate as a child with learning disabilities. Over the course of 45 years, she has become a worldwide sensation with her videos. Most recently, Koko gained attention for adopting a pair of cuddly kittens and identified them as her cat babies via sign language.
As part of the latest campaign by French organization Noe Conservation, the gorilla has filmed a message to mankind encouraging humans to be more conscious of their responsibilities to the planet Earth. In Koko’s video, she calls man “stupid” for ignoring this pressing obligation to the planet while stating “Earth Koko love.”
The Gorilla Foundation says that Koko knows over 1,100 different signs.
Keep in mind that many have been adapted to compensate for her inabilities to for the same complex hand shapes as her human counterparts. In addition, many obviously question her ability to grasp the concepts which she speaks on. For example, having an awareness of both climate change and a concept of time is highly unlikely.
Furthermore, scientists not affiliated with the Gorilla Foundation have yet to verify whether or not she can truly understand the syntax of the complex statements she appears to make in the video or the advancement in the level of her communication. All the same, her message is quite haunting.
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