Judge: Companion of late gorilla Koko must go back to zoo

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled a male silverback gorilla loaned to a California group in 1991 as a possible mate for Koko, the gorilla who learned sign language, must be returned to a Cincinnati zoo.

District Judge Richard Seeborg’s ruling Friday says a 2015 agreement between the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Gorilla Foundation to return Ndume (nnn-DOO-may) after Koko’s death must be enforced. Koko died in June at age 46.

The Cincinnati Zoo sued after the Gorilla Foundation reneged on the agreement claiming 37-year-old Ndume would be harmed by the move.

Cincinnati Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley said Saturday the zoo looks forward to working with the Gorilla Foundation on Ndume’s return.

Messages seeking comment were left Saturday with the Gorilla Foundation and its attorneys.

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