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Oldest male chimpanzee in US dies at San Francisco zoo

Cobby is the second chimp in Northern California to pass away within the past few weeks. On May 30, Joey, 57, a male chimpanzee at the Sacramento Zoo, passed away.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2009, file photo, Cobby, a male chimpanzee, plays with pumpkins during the San Francisco Zoo's 'Boo at the Zoo' Halloween celebration in San Francisco. Cobby, the oldest male chimpanzee living in an accredited North American zoo died Saturday, June 5, 2021, at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. He was 63. Cobby, had been a hand-reared performing chimpanzee before he was brought to the San Francisco zoo in the 1960s. (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — The oldest male chimpanzee living in an accredited North American zoo died Saturday, June 5, at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. He was 63. 

The chimpanzee, named Cobby, had been a hand-reared performing chimpanzee before he was brought to the San Francisco Zoo in the 1960s. Although the chimpanzee’s cause of death had not been determined, the animal had recently been ill and zoo officials believe old age was a factor. 

In a series of tweets, the San Francisco Zoo said Cobby "enjoyed resting on the various platforms, snacking on his favorite foods, climbing up high, & interacting w/ his keepers."

The zoo said the average life expectancy of chimpanzees living in the wild is 33 years, while it is between 50 and 60 years under human care.

Cobby isn't the only elderly chimpanzee to recently pass away. 

The Sacramento Zoo announced on June 1, the passing of Joey, a male chimpanzee, passed away on Sunday, May 30. He was 57 years old. Joey and Cobby were two of the oldest chimpanzees cared for by the Association of Zoo & Aquarium (AZA) professionals.

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