Securing a shared future for wildlife and people Watch the Video
Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Pan troglodytes
Species class: 
Population Trend: 
Quick Facts

Life Span: Up to 45 years in the wild, but 60+ years in captivity!

Size: 1.2-1.7m

Weight: 30-60kgs approx. - vary between the wild and captivity

Collective noun: Community

Fun Facts

Close relatives: Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing more than 98 percent of our genetic blueprint. Humans and chimps are also thought to share a common ancestor who lived some four to eight million years ago. You could even receive a blood transfusion from a chimp if you shared the same blood type!

Smart workers: Chimpanzees are one of the few animal species that employ tools. They shape and use sticks to retrieve insects from their nests or dig grubs out of logs. They also use stones to smash open tasty nuts and employ leaves as sponges to soak up drinking water.

Identifying young: Young chimps manage to get away with being mischievous because they are still learning! A small white tuft of fur above their bottom tells the other chimps that they are young and should not yet be disciplined.

Walking: Although they normally walk on all fours (knuckle-walking), chimpanzees can stand and walk upright. By swinging from branch to branch they can also move quite efficiently in the trees, where they do most of their eating. Chimpanzees usually sleep in the trees as well, creating nests of leaves

Females in estrus have prominent swelling of the pink perineal skin, lasting two to three weeks or more and occurring every four to six weeks

Loud animals: Chimps will often flare up and get loud and perform aggressive displays. They make themselves look intimidating to fend off threats or even to try and gain greater status within their community.

Grooming is a major part of a chimpanzees' life. It serves mainly a social function, helping to strength relationships and bonds between animals, as well as keeping the chimps free of pests.

The newborn chimpanzee is helpless, with only a weak grasping reflex and needing support from the mother's hand during travel. Within a few days it clings to the mother's underside without assistance and begins riding on her back at 5-7 months. By 4 years of age the infant travels mostly by walking, but stays with its mother until at least 5-7 years old

Different vocalisations: Chimpanzees have over 30 different vocalisations with each meaning something different. They could mean anything from a threat is coming, to showing anger, to saying food is here.

Politics play a large role in Chimpanzee communities. Chimps form alliances to maintain or gain status within their community. For chimps it is not so much what you know but who you know.

Space chimps: Chimpanzees were chosen to be astronauts before humans!

Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives and share nearly 99% of our DNA. Standing between 1.3 and 1.6 metres a full grown chimp can weigh up to 65kg and have the strength of 6 men. Chimps are very intelligent animals which like us communicate through hand and facial gestures and live in very complex societies. Once found in forests all over Africa, these endangered animals are now holding on in smaller and smaller areas of habitat and need our help to survive. 

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we have 17 Chimpanzees: 

Lubutu (M – DOB: 05/06/1993) Alpha Male. Lulu’s grandson and Lisa’s son
Shabani (M – DOB: 14/09/1994) Beta Male – Shiba’s son
Lisa (F – DOB: 23/08/1979) Lubutu’s mother
Spitter (F – DOB: 01/06/1960)
Sasha (F – DOB: 11/06/1980)
Shiba (F – DOB: 22/05/1981)
Koko (F – DOB: 06/05/1979)
Kuma (F – DOB: 06/12/1991)
Kamili (F – DOB: 02/09/1995)
Shona (F – DOB: 09/10/1987) Lowest ranking adult
Samaki (M – DOB: 27/11/2001) Shiba’s son
Lani (F – DOB: 26/05/2002)
Furahi (M – DOB: 28/02/2003)
Shikamoo (M – DOB: 25/07/2003)
Sembe (F – DOB: 27/02/2008)
Sule (M – DOB: 04/04/2008)
Fumo (M – D.O.B: 17/10/2013) Kuma’s son
and Shiba's son (M – D.O.B: 09/08/2014) 

See the chimp family tree document for more information on the makeup of the group.


Year assessed: