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World's Oldest Chimpanzee Dies in Florida; 'Little Mama' Was 79

World's Oldest Chimpanzee Dies in Florida; 'Little Mama' Was 79
Little Mama, believed to be the world's oldest chimpanzee living in captivity, has died. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 November 2017 05:27 PM

The world's oldest living chimpanzee in captivity, “Little Mama,” has died in Florida. She was believed to be 79 years old.

The septuagenarian chimp had lived at Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County since 1967. Before that she was a pet and a performer in the Ice Capades, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Little Mama’s health had begun to fail in recent weeks, and veterinary staff think she died from kidney. When she died Tuesday, she was surrounded by the eight other chimps in her family group and staff that had cared for her for years, the Sun Sentinel reported. 

A necropsy will be performed to determine the actual cause of death, the Sentinel reported.

Earlier in 2017, Peter, another chimpanzee at the facility, died of an apparent heart attack when he was only in his early 40s. A typical life span for chimps in captivity is 50 to 60 years. In the wild they live 40 to 50 years. 

“She held a special place in the heart of anyone who ever had the privilege to meet her,” primate curator Tina Cloutier Barbour said, WPBF reported. “There was nowhere else on this earth that she could have possibly been more loved or cared for than here at Lion Country Safari.”

Little Mama was visited by chimp expert Jane Goodall in 1972, when Goodall estimated her age. The chimpanzee celebrated her birthday on Valentine’s Day and got the biggest celebration of any of the park’s 1,100 animals, WPBF reported. 

Little Mama carried a stuffed animal around with her everywhere and was beloved by staff and visitors.

Twitter users remembered visiting the chimpanzee and sent their condolences.

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The world's oldest living chimpanzee in captivity, "Little Mama," has died in Florida. She was believed to be 79 years old.
worlds, oldest, chimpanzee, dies, little mama
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2017-27-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 05:27 PM
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