The chimpanzee

The chimpanzee

The closest living relative

  • The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) is the closest living relative of human (Homo sapiens).
    Chimpanzees and humans shared a common ancestor sometime between 5 and 8 million years ago.
    The Chimpanzee Genome Project has reported that chimpanzees and humans share 98.7 percent of DNA sequence.

Chimpanzee society

  • A group of chimpanzees comprises 20-100 individuals. These include multi adult males and adult females together with adolescents, juveniles and infants. These groups repeatedly undergo fission-fusion as small groups of one or more individuals join and leave. These frequent rearrangements sometimes result in forming of larger groups. There is no fixed group composition. The only individuals who always stay together are mothers, juveniles and infants. Between the ages of 9 and 11, females leave the group they were born in and join a different group. Males stay with their birth group, even after becoming adults. This leads to the formation of a paternal society. Adult males keep their group safe by patrolling the area around the group's habitat. Relations between males of different groups are hostile, especially at the border of their territories. There are several case reports where different groups met and killed several members in each other's groups in territorial disputes.
  • Chimpanzee social life at Kumamoto Sanctuary(KS)
    As of May 2012 fifty chimpanzees are living at KS, containing 30 males and 20 females, ranging in ages from 12 to 41. With the exception of Kanako who is blind, the KS chimpanzees live in social groups ranging in size from 2 to 15 individuals. We aim to create an environment that would allow for fission-fusion. We plan to form a heterosexual, multi-male-multi-female group.

Chimpanzee life expectancy

  • Chimpanzees believed to live for 40 to 50 years in the wild.
    According to records kept for captive chimpanzees in Japan, the oldest chimpanzee, named Johnny, lives in Oji Zoo. As of today, he is alive and active at age 62. A male chimpanzee named Gregoire died at age 66 at the JGI's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.

Chimpanzee diet

  • Wild chimpanzees eat a range of foods including fruits, leaves, and pith of plants, saps, small animals, birds and insects.
  • Chimpanzee diet at KS
    In order to encourage chimpanzees to forage and gather their food within their available enclosures, we have set up a range of feeders and devices. For more, detailed information please visit our environmental enrichment program webpage. The standard amount of food per day for an adult individual should contain approximately 2500 kcal. To meet this need we compile their daily diet of feeding fresh vegetables, fruit, brows, seeds and pellets.

Chimpanzee mothers and infants

  • Infants, until the age of four are cared for by their mothers and they sleep together in the same bed at night. Infants watch closely of how their mothers use tools during foraging. As the infants grow they often try to pick up and play with their mothers' tools. Over time, these practice activities enable them to gain adequate skills and knowledge they need to use tools by themselves. Infants often also look after their younger siblings eagerly, which allows them to learn parenting skills. When the mothers, years after gave birth returning to their regular estrous cycle, infants can interfere with renewed mating. However, even the adult males are tolerant towards young infants. Staying close to their mothers during their early years allow infants to learn a range of different skills. Play among infants for example can go too wild sometimes. Play bouts that develop into fights can lead to occasional disputes between their mothers as well.
  • Mothers and infants at KS
    As breeding is not carried out at KS, there are no infants. However, there are a number of grown-up males who live together with their mothers.