split image of Fatou the oldest gorilla

Meet Fatou, the world’s oldest living gorilla

She recently celebrated her 67th birthday. 🎂

She lives in Berlin Zoo, where she arrived in May 1959 when she was believed to be at least 2 years old...

You do the maths. 🤪

Fatou eating lettuce

Fatou is a western lowland gorilla, a species with an average lifespan of 40-50 years when in a protected environment like the zoo.

For her birthday, zoo staff presented Fatou with a special basket of fruit and vegetables including lettuce, berries, watermelon and edible flowers - she loved it! 🫐🌸🥬🍉

Normally, Fatou eats vegetables almost exclusively, but every now and then she gets little treats like this.

“In general, we pay a lot of attention to good nutrition for our animals,” said zoo veterinarian Dr. André Schüle.

“And especially with older animals like Fatou, we always adjust meals accordingly. In her old age, Fatou needs very soft food that she can chew well even without teeth.”

Fatou eating fruit

So what does a day in Fatou's life look like?

Well, her favourite daily activities include searching for food and climbing ropes.

She lives in her own compound as she prefers to keep her distance from the other gorillas - however, she's still able to socialize with her neighbours whenever she feels like it!

The adjoining enclosure houses silverback Sango (age 19) and females Mpenzi (38), Bibi (27), Djambala (22) and Tilla (3). 

They're a fun group!🦍🦍🦍🦍🦍

Fatou smiling

Unfortunately, Fatou's species is critically endangered...

Characterized as the "gardeners of the African rainforest", gorillas play a super important role in the ecosystem by spreading seeds, which contributes to the preservation of nature's variety. 🌎

The good news is that Fatou is still in good health considering her age, and that she lives a calm and happy life!

Happy birthday, Fatou. 🥳