a blog with cultural bulimia.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Koko made my day. No, my week.

koko rocks!"About a month ago, Koko, a 300-plus-pound ape who became famous for mastering more than 1,000 signs, began telling the people who care for her at the Gorilla Foundation here that she was in pain. They quickly constructed a pain chart, offering her a scale from 1 dot to 10, and Koko frequently indicated that her pain was in the 7-to-9 range, a foundation spokeswoman said.

Because anesthesia would be needed for the tooth extraction, her handlers used the opportunity to give Koko a head-to-toe exam. "She's quite articulate," said JohnPaul Slater, a volunteer at the Gorilla Foundation. "She'll tell us how bad she's feeling, how bad the pain is." (...)

Koko and Ndume, her partner of 11 years (he does not know sign language), have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, and the doctors thought the checkup could let them know whether she had any biological problems preventing conception. They found none.

Her teacher, Francine Patterson, was at her side when the anesthesiologist prepared to put her under in the morning, and apparently Koko asked to meet her specialists.

They crowded around her, and Koko, who plays favorites, asked one woman wearing red to come closer. The woman handed her a business card, which Koko promptly ate."

[Image from]