How long do chimpanzees live?

BBC Wildlife contributor Stuart Blackman answers your wild question.

Chimpanzee at Ngogo Chimpanzee Project in Uganda

Chimpanzee at Ngogo Chimpanzee Project in Uganda © Danita Delimont / Getty


The longest recorded lifespan for a chimpanzee in captivity is 62, though a less reliable record exists of a female living until 78.

Lifespan in the wild is harder to gauge, but a recent study of 306 chimps at Ngogo in Uganda’s Kibale National Park showed the average life expectancy to be about 33 years. This is nearly twice as old as has been found for other chimpanzee groups, and about the same as the average lifespan of human hunter-gatherers.

But the Ngogo group is not a typical one. Unlike other groups studied, it inhabits a productive, healthy forest with low levels of human disturbance.
In which case, it might be a more accurate reflection of natural lifespan.    


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