Woodside, California – Koko, the female western lowland gorilla made headlines in the 1980’s when she was taught American Sign Language (ASL) by her trainer, Penny Patterson. Since then, Koko communicates with humans using ASL and can understand approximately 2000 words of spoken english.
Koko is quite interested in the world around her and often asks questions about varied things such as her food to questions about the birds that fly by her window. Patterson says that recently Koko has been interested in religion and they’ve been actively teaching her the various religions of the world. Koko seemed particularly interested in Islam and began observing Islamic Holy Days and watching Al Jazeera TV. Her trainers thought nothing of it thinking it was just a phase she was going through. Patterson gave the example of the time in 1983 that Koko asked for a kitten for Christmas. Koko loved her kitten and took care of it for a few weeks but like most children who get pets, lost interest, leaving it for the trainers to feed and clean up after.
Patterson said the first inkling they had this wasn’t a phase was when they came in one morning to find Koko in a full burqa. Within a few weeks Koko was repeatedly signing Jihad, death to infidels and was particularly upset when Harambe, the male western lowland gorilla was killed by his trainers after a young boy fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo.
Days after that incident, the FBI became alerted to the fact that Koko was attempting to buy assault weapons online and downloaded plans on how to build a bomb. When FBI agents interviewed her, she renounced the United States and said she was now a soldier for Islam. The U.S. State Department immediately assigned Koko to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp where they say she will live out her days.