Skip to main content


Pan troglodytes

Chimpanzees are part of the great ape family and are one of our closest living relatives, sharing nearly 99 per cent of our DNA.

Chimpanzees have long brown and black hair. Unlike most other primates, chimpanzees are apes and therefore do not have a tail. Like humans, chimpanzees have opposable thumbs to help them grasp branches and tools. In the wild, they are often seen using tools and we replicate this at Belfast Zoo. Our chimps regularly use branches to access the treats hidden in their false termite mound.

Chimps are very intelligent animals and communicate through a complicated range of hand and facial gestures. They live in complex societies with strict hierarchies, controlled by one dominant male.

Once found in forests all over Africa, these endangered animals are facing increasing threats to their habitat and survival. It is estimated that within 30 years all species of ape could be extinct.

Chimpanzees measure up to 1.6 metres in height and weigh up to 70 kilograms.

Belfast Zoo is home to five chimpanzees.

IUCN Status

The IUCN status of the chimpanzee is endangered.

For more info on classifications visit

Animal class


Conservation status

The IUCN believes chimpanzees face a very high risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed under Appendix II of CITES.




There are believed to be fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees in the wild. They are becoming more and more scattered and, even in relatively large forest areas, their population is declining.


Omnivore. Chimpanzees eat mostly fruit, seeds, leaves, bark and insects. They also hunt small mammals.