Gombe's Oldest Chimpanzee

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 3:00pm


At the age of 54, Sparrow is the oldest-known chimpanzee at Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Chimpanzees, unlike many animals, reproduce slowly, mature slowly, and live for long periods of time.  However, despite more than 50 years of research at Gombe, scientists still debate the average life span of wild chimpanzees. 
Today, we observed Sparrow. Like other Gombe chimpanzees, Sparrow fed on mabungo madogo fruits (Landolphia lucida) throughout the day. Mabungo madogo is a vine that is widely distributed throughout the park. Sparrow traveled up and down the valleys searching for mabungo madogo and feeding on the vine’s fruits. She still looks strong and determined. She shows no signs of aging.  No doubt, Sparrow will live for many years.

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