Hug/Love Washoe

I was saddened to learn that Washoe, the first chimpanzee to aquire American Sign Language, passed away on Tuesday. Washoe, was the first chimpanzee I ever met. I read Next of Kin in college when I should have been paying attention in class. In many ways, that book and Washoe’s story in particular had a big impact on my life. I learned sign language and was introduced to deaf culture, and it was around that time I was transitioning to veganism from vegetarianism. Not only would I have the chance to meet Washoe and her family at CHCI, but would later volunteer at other primate sanctuaries and see great apes in the wild. I am grateful to Washoe for introducing me to the complex lives of our next of kin, and also to the forces that are causing them harm. I hope to write a longer tribute to this wonderful matriarch.

In honor of Washoe and VeganMoFo, I am posting a list of Washoe’s favorite foods: Oatmeal with onions, pumpkin pudding, split pea soup, eggplant, gum, tea and coffee. A vegan hodgepodge indeed.

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~ by sangamithra on November 3, 2007.

3 Responses to “Hug/Love Washoe”

  1. That’s sad. I’d never heard of Washoe before and she sounds interesting. I really wonder about what she was able to say. She had good taste in food at least.

  2. I didn’t know this – how sad. Lovely post.

  3. They said Washoe’s vocabulary was over 300 signs. What i thought was really cool is that she would invent signs for words she didn’t know using signs she already did. Like Christmas was SWEET-TREE, because they celebrated it by decorating a tree with treats. Watermelon was CANDY-DRINK. and going to the potty was DIRTY-GOOD.

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