Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Mama may be oldest chimp in captivity

Little Mama possibly oldest chimp in captivity

Born in Africa, she came to the park in 1967 as one of the first residents at Lion Country Safari theme park in Loxahatchee, Florida.

Little Mama was part of the Ice Capades, a traveling variety show that performed on ice across the United States, before she was acquired by a pet dealer when babies at that time could go for 10 grand.

At that time birth records for chimpanzees were not kept so the park did the next best thing: They asked the world expert Jane Goodall to estimate Little Mama's age. Goodall determined that the chimpanzee was between 30 and 35 years old. Splitting the difference, the park decided to put her age at 32.

Little Mama's last physical showed her in good health with clean lungs and a strong heart. Wolf believes that excellent care in the pet industry may be the reason she is healthy at her advanced age.

The life span for chimpanzees is 40 to 50 years in the wild and for those in captivity it is 50 to 60 years, according to the Center for Great Apes.

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