Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

Chimpanzees are native to West and Central Africa, where they live in humid forests, deciduous woodlands and mixed savanna. They are omnivores, eating fruit, galls, insects, leaves, seeds and prey animals such as baboons, birds, bush pigs, monkeys and rodents.

Chimpanzee behavior and facts

  • Chimpanzees are highly intelligent and live in family groups, usually of females and juveniles. Males leave the group at adolescence.
  • Chimpanzees are diurnal (active during the day); about half their waking hours are spent feeding.
  • Like humans they have opposable thumbs – the thumb can reach over and make contact with the other digits – that lets them use tools to gather food.
  • Like humans, they use facial muscles to communicate without language or sound.
  • Chimpanzees have a highly developed language of grunts and barks.
  • Males hunt in an organized group.

Chimpanzee lingo

  • Fusion-fission. Groups come together (fusion) or split apart (fission) depending on how much food is available in an area.

From birth to death

  • Breeding: year-round with 3-year intervals between births
  • Gestation: 8 months
  • One chimp at birth; twins are rare
  • Young are weaned at 4 to 5 years and may remain with their mother 10 or more years. Female chimps may remain with their mothers permanently.
  • Lifespan: 30 to 40 years; in captivity up to 50 years

Vital statistics

  • Males: 90 to 200 pounds, 28 to 33 inches tall
  • Females: 66 to 176 pounds, 30 to 36 inches tall

Status

  • U.S. Endangered
  • CITES App I due to habitat loss
  • Species Recovery Plan, studbook participant
  • Great Ape TAG

Chimpanzees, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's four chimpanzees live in the Chimpanzees exhibit.

At the zoo the chimps eat fruits, greens, monkey chow and vegetables. In the wild, chimps often come across large termite mounds. They find sticks and push them into the mound; termites gather on the stick and when the chimps pull the stick out, they lick the termites off it. The zoo has artificial termite mounds. When chimps plunge sticks into them, the reward is not termites but treats such as mustard, pie filling, ketchup or apple sauce.

Coco

Coco is a female chimpanzee born around 1952. She moved to the zoo in 1961. In 2012, Coco died at the age of 60. At the time of her death she was the oldest animal at the Oregon Zoo and the second-oldest chimp in the U.S. zoo population.  Coco touched countless lives during the half-century she lived at the Oregon Zoo...

Chloe

Chloe is a female chimpanzee born around 1969. She came to the zoo at age six after living in a circus environment. Because of her background, Chloe had to learn to be less of a human and more of a chimp. She continues to display human characteristics, such as walking on two feet and eating daintily...

Delilah

Delilah was born at Oregon Zoo on May 25, 1973, and is the daughter of Coco, who passed away in 2012. Delilah was hand-reared and was introduced to the chimp project with orphan chimps in her first year. When she was seven years old, she was integrated with the older chimps. For a time, Delilah enjoyed being the alpha chimp, but Chloe eventually became more dominant...

Leah

Leah is a female chimpanzee, born at the Oregon Zoo on May 15, 1974, a year after Delilah's birth. She was also hand-reared and introduced into the chimp enrichment project in her first year of life, and later integrated with the older chimps. Leah is one of Coco's daughters. She was close to her elderly mother, and was often found grooming and comforting her...