Oldest living gorilla in captivity
Who
Fatou
What
62 year(s):day(s)
Where
Germany (Berlin)
When

A western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) named Fatou has been a resident at Zoo Berlin in Germany since May 1959 – a total of 60 years. Estimated to have been born in the wild in 1957, she was c. two years old on her arrival to Berlin and celebrated her 62nd year on 13 April 2019 (the date the zoo has allocated as her birthday). The typical life expectancy of gorillas in captivity is between 40 and 50 years old. Fatou was collected from the wild in western Africa and brought to Marseilles, France, in 1959 by a sailor, who used the young gorilla as payment to settle his account at a local tavern. Acquired by French animal trader Mme Lefevre, she was then purchased by Zoo Berlin in 1959.


Until recently, Fatou had been one of two contenders for the title of oldest gorilla, along with another western lowland gorilla called Trudy (estimated b. June 1956) who lived at Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas, USA. Sadly, Trudy passed away on 23 July 2019, leaving Fatou as the outright record holder.

The capture of wild animals for zoos is no longer considered acceptable by the zoological community, with the vast majority of animals born within captivity or transferred between facilities for breeding programmes.

The oldest gorilla that can be aged precisely was Colo, who was born in Columbus Zoo, Ohio, USA, on 22 December 1956 (the first gorilla born in a zoo) and died 17 January 2017 aged 60 years 26 days.

Zoo Berlin also holds the record for the most species at a zoo.