(Pan troglodytes)




Facts about this animal

The chimpanzee is a large ape with a head-body length of 77-100 cm and a body-weight of about 50 kg in adult males. In zoos where they may get food too rich in energy and have not enough exercise, weights of up to 90 kg have been recorded. Females are somewhat smaller, up to 85 cm, and lighter, around 45-50 kg.


Chimpanzees have a bare face with pale, mottled or darkly pigmented skin. A white beard grows on the chin of adults of both sexes. The eyes are very human-like with a yellowish-brown iris. The ears are big, naked and prominent. The lips are protrusive and very moveable.


The arms are longer than the legs. Hands and feet are elongated with short, opposable thumbs and big toes.


The hair is black, coarse, dense and short, longer on head, shoulders and forearms. The coat on the upper chest is weak. Older animals of both sexes tend to baldness and their coat may turn grey.


In the wild, females become adolescent at 8 to 10 years. 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. After a gestation period of 230 to 250 days usually one single young is born, which the females raises alone. Birth intervals are 4 to 5 years. The young nurses about 5 years.


The food of chimpanzees consists primarily of fruit, nuts and other plant material, but animal protein is an inegral part of their diet.

Did you know?
That chimpanzees do not only eat fruit and other plant material but are also predators in their forest ecosystems? Chimpanzees hunt smaller primate species, such as the red colobus, duikers and whatever they can get. In some sites the quantity of meat eaten by a chimpanzee community may approach one ton annually.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Pan troglodytes
Name (English) Chimpanzee
Name (French) Chimpanzé
Name (German) Schimpanse
Name (Spanish) Chimpanzé
Local names kiSwahili: Soko motu
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Equatorial, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire
Habitat Different types of forests, savannas
Wild population Approx. 172,700 - 299,700 (2003) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 1158 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 33 or 34 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The chimpanzee is of great educational value, because it is our closest relative in the Animal Kingdom. The banding patterns seen on stained chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees show striking similarities and about 94 % of the DNA of the two species is identical.


Because chimpanzees are so fascinating creatures, they are ideal ambassadors for their West and Central African Forest habitat, and can be used as a flagship species when campaigning against an illegal and unsustainable bushmeat trade.


Rated Vulnerable a few years ago, the chimpanzee is now considered Endangered. In the long term, chimpanzees kept ex situ may become increasingly important as an insurance population. Therefore, coordinated breeding programmes have been set up in several regions.