Taronga’s Chimpanzee community can trace its history back through eight decades.
In 1947, when Australia’s entire population was equal to the current NSW population, the first of the Chimpanzees in our family tree was born.
Learn about the members of the Chimpanzee group below, including insights on each on Taronga's Chimps from their keepers, from the current alpha male Lubutu to the youngest members of the group - Sule and Sembe.
Click on the image gallery below to find out what makes Taronga’s Chimpanzee Community so unique and precious
Lubutu - alpha male (date of birth 05.06.93)
Has a close rapport with a few favourite staff. Good natured and excitable. Quick to show fear in response to unusual circumstances. Shows great tolerance of and interacts well with infants. Lubutu is the alpha male of the group.
Shabani - beta male (date of birth 14.09.94)
Shabani has begun to support his younger brother Samaki when in conflict with females, but still very cautious to instigate conflict with Lubutu, however will redirect aggression to females.
Lulu (date of birth 1952)
High social status is hampered by lack of mobility (due left arm) so can be a target for harassment. The most people-orientated of the adults, she can be affectionate with favourite staff. Lulu definitely has mood swings, but is mellowing.
Lisa (date of birth 23.08.79)
Powerful and confident in herself. Rarely starts altercations, but quick to come to the aid of her son Lubutu or daughter Lani, and then happy to see altercation through to the end.
Spitter (date of birth 01.06.60)
Excellent maternal behaviour and very family-focused. Once an active political player, she suffered due to intimidation of her grandson, Sandali. Sometimes spits accurately at keepers if frustrated!
Sasha (date of Birth 11.06.80)
Nervous and fearful when the subject of male dominance and suffers from campaigns of intimidation from Lubutu. As a result, Sasha is a target for the younger males and often becomes hysterical in response. Stays close to mother Spitter for protection.
Shiba (date of Birth 22.05.81)
Independent and tough. On the outside of the main political power, but respected due to her strength of character. Rarely seeks out the company of her family. Very attentive to Sembi and comes to her aid immediately by putting herself in harms way.
Koko (date of birth 06.05.79)
Outside the political power, but always seeking advancement and ways to dominate others. Often starts altercations for this reason. Generally intolerant of the infants. Often bites off more than she can chew then desperately solicits help. Very supportive of daughter Kamili.
Kuma (date of birth 06.12.91)
Adventurous, clever and confident in her abilities. Kuma had a difficult time raising her son Furahi due to lack of family support. Her rivals for social status are Koko and Kamili and most of the conflicts Kuma is involved in concern these two. She is very supportive of her son Furahi, leading him away if conflict arises.
Kamili (date of birth 02.09.95)
Clever and ambitious, shows real political nous. While generally intolerant of the infants, protects and interacts with Shikamoo. She is a trouble-maker and starts most of the conflicts that her mother eventually pays for.
Shona (date of birth 09.10.87)
Lowest ranking adult. Avoids altercations and spends a lot of time alone. Occasionally receives family support from Shiba. Took on the role of surrogate for Chimbuka after Chiki died. Shona has a good relationship with Lubutu, but is often targeted by younger males.
Samaki (date of birth 27.11.01)
Very confident with his size when confronting females, however not confident against males. Appears to be playing both sides, supporting Lubutu and instigating play, while still supporting his family when needed.
Lani (date of birth 26.05.02)
Only female infant. Confident individual and enjoys high status due to family. A bit aloof from the other juveniles.
Furahi (date of birth 28.02.03)
Beginning to bulk up and starting to push boundaries, harassing females and on occassion joining in when males are displaying, usually targeting Shona or Sacha. He has a close bond with his mother. Still quite playful with babies and Lubutu
Shikamoo (date of birth 25.07.03)
Inquisitive and mischievious. Beginning to bulk up and is starting to push boundaries, harassing females and has on occassion joined in when males are displaying. Still quite playful and enjoys wrestling with Sule.
Sembe (date of birth 27.02.08)
Very family orientated chimp, often stays close to mum. Shows the same strong personality characteristics represented by her family. Often seen interacting with Sule in a dominating manner.
Sule (date of Birth 04.04.08)
Good natured, very playful and is often the first to provide comfort and reconciliation to others in the group. Sule likes interacting with keepers and getting involved when males are displaying, often seen displaying himself. Enjoys his own company. He is the best looking chimp baby we have ever had in the group!