, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 525–535 | Cite as

Longevity and mortality of captive chimpanzees in Japan from 1921 to 2018

  • Kristin Havercamp
  • Koshiro Watanuki
  • Masaki Tomonaga
  • Tetsuro Matsuzawa
  • Satoshi HirataEmail author
Original Article


Utilizing the Great Ape Information Network (GAIN), an open-access nationwide database containing the detailed life history information of all apes who have lived or currently reside in Japan, we present a robust chimpanzee life table by single year of age and sex including 821 individuals spanning nearly a century, current through March 11, 2019. While the demographic composition and status of captive chimpanzees in Japan has been previously reported, longevity and mortality statistics have not. We show that female and male survivorship do not differ significantly, and that a live-born chimpanzee in Japan can expect to live 28.3 years (females 26.3, males 30.3). Life expectancy increases to 34.6 years (females 33.4, males 35.7) for individuals who reach one year of age, and to 40.4 years (females 39.2, males 41.5) for those who survive to adulthood. The oldest chimpanzee in Japan, a wild-born male, lived an estimated 68 years. One in six infants are stillborn, and nearly 80% of all infants born alive survive beyond their first birthday. Finally, we report that a seasonal death pattern exists and chimpanzees in Japan are more likely to decease in the winter months (Dec–Feb) than in any other season.


Captive chimpanzee Life table Life history patterns Longevity Mortality 



The authors would like to thank the AZA Population Management and Chicago Zoological Society staff for assistance with questions regarding PopLink and PMx, and the two anonymous reviewers who provided crucial feedback on the original manuscript. Research was supported by SGU MEXT to K.H. and MEXT-JSPS Grants (#16H06283 to T. M., 15H05709 to M. T. and 18H05524 to S. H.); LGP-U04, Core-to-Core Program CCSN and the Great Ape Information Network (GAIN) to T.M.


  1. Analitis A, Katsouyanni K, Biggeri A, Baccini M, Forsberg B, Bisanti L, Kirchmayer U, Ballester F, Cadum E, Goodman PG, Hojs A (2008) Effects of cold weather on mortality: results from 15 European cities within the PHEWE project. Am J Epidemiol 168:1397–1408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ballou JD, Lacy RC, Pollak JP (2010) PMx: software for demographic and genetic analysis and management of pedigreed populations. Chicago Zoological Society, BrookfieldGoogle Scholar
  3. Bronikowski AM, Altmann J, Brockman DK, Cords M, Fedigan LM, Pusey A, Stoinski T, Morris WF, Strier KB, Alberts SC (2011) Aging in the natural world: comparative data reveal similar mortality patterns across primates. Science 331:1325–1328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carlsen F, de Jongh T (2014) European studbook for the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Copenhagen Zoo, FrederiksbergGoogle Scholar
  5. Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (2012) 2012 North American regional chimpanzee studbook (Pan troglodytes). Lincoln Park Zoo, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  6. Courtenay J, Santow G (1989) Mortality of wild and captive chimpanzees. Folia Primatol 52:167–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cox B, Gasparrini A, Catry B, Delcloo A, Bijnens E, Vangronsveld J, Nawrot TS (2016) Mortality related to cold and heat. What do we learn from dairy cattle? Environ Res 149:231–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Magalhães JP, Costa J (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life‐history traits. J Evol Biol 22:1770–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dyke B, Gage TB, Alford PL, Swenson B, Williams-Blangero S (1995) Model life table for captive chimpanzees. Am J Primatol 37:25–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Faust LJ, Bergstrom YM, Thompson SD, Bier L (2012a) PopLink version 2.4. Lincoln Park Zoo, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  11. Faust LJ, Bier L, Schowe K, Gazlay T (2012b) PopLink 2.4: user’s manual. Lincoln Park Zoo, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  12. Fisken FA, Carlsen F, Elder M, de Jongh T, Pereboom JJM, Pohl B, Rietkerk F, Ross SR, Taniguchi A (2018) Global population records and managed-programme updates for the great apes. Int Zoo Yearb 52:212–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gogarten JF, Brown LM, Chapman CA, Cords M, Doran-Sheehy D, Fedigan LM, Grine FE, Perry S, Pusey E, Sterck EH, Wich SA (2012) Seasonal mortality patterns in non-human primates: implications for variation in selection pressures across environments. Evolution 66:3252–3266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hayashi M, Sakuraba Y, Watanabe S, Kaneko A, Matsuzawa T (2013) Behavioral recovery from tetraparesis in a captive chimpanzee. Primates 54:237–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hill K, Boesch C, Goodall J, Pusey A, Williams J, Wrangham R (2001) Mortality rates among wild chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 40:437–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hirata S, Morimura N, Watanuki K, Ross SR (in press) The establishment of sanctuaries for former laboratory chimpanzees: challenges, successes, and cross-cultural context. In: Hopper L, Ross SR (eds) Chimpanzees in context. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  17. Hvilsom C, Frandsen P, Børsting C, Carlsen F, Sallé B, Simonsen BT, Siegismund HR (2013) Understanding geographic origins and history of admixture among chimpanzees in European zoos, with implications for future breeding programmes. Heredity 110:586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones KE, Bielby J, Cardillo M, Fritz SA, O’Dell J, Orme CDL, Safi K, Sechrest W, Boakes EH, Carbone C, Connolly C (2009) PanTHERIA: a species-level database of life history, ecology, and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals. Ecology 90:2648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kaplan H, Hill K, Lancaster J, Hurtado AM (2000) A theory of human life history evolution: diet, intelligence, and longevity. Evol Anthropol 9:156–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kohler IV, Preston SH, Lackey LB (2006) Comparative mortality levels among selected species of captive animals. Demogr Res 15:413–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Littleton J (2005) Fifty years of chimpanzee demography at Taronga Park Zoo. Am J Primatol 67:281–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Matsuzawa T (2016a) Euthanasia is not an option: 10 years’ care of a chimpanzee with acute tetraparesis. Primates 57:291–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matsuzawa T (2016b) SAGA and GAIN for great apes. Primates 57:1–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matsuzawa T (2018) Chimpanzee Velu: the wild chimpanzee who passed away at the estimated age of 58. Primates 59:107–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matsuzawa T, Humle T, Sugiyama Y (2011) The chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morimura N, Idani GI, Matsuzawa T (2011) The first chimpanzee sanctuary in Japan: an attempt to care for the “surplus” of biomedical research. Am J Primatol 73:226–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Muller MN, Wrangham RW (2014) Mortality rates among Kanyawara chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 66:107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ochiai T, Watanuki K, Udono T, Morimura N, Hirata S, Tomonaga M, Idani G, Matsuzawa T (2015) The history of captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in Japan 1920–1950. Primate Res 31:19–29 (in Japanese with English summary) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rowe N, Myers M (2017) All The World’s Primates. Int Encycl Primatol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Saiyed ST, Liubicich RC, Fidino M, Ross SR (2018) Stillbirth rates across three ape species in accredited American zoos. Am J Primatol 80:e22870. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson ME, Jones JH, Pusey AE, Brewer-Marsden S, Goodall J, Marsden D, Matsuzawa T, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Wrangham RW (2007) Aging and fertility patterns in wild chimpanzees provide insights into the evolution of menopause. Curr Biol 17:2150–2156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tidière M, Gaillard JM, Berger V, Müller DW, Lackey LB, Gimenez O, Clauss M, Lemaître JF (2016) Comparative analyses of longevity and senescence reveal variable survival benefits of living in zoos across mammals. Sci Rep 6:36361. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Wagner KE, Ross SR (2008) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) birth patterns and human presence in zoological settings. Am J Primatol 70:703–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Watanuki K, Ochiai T, Hirata S, Morimura N, Tomonaga M, Idani G, Matsuzawa T (2014) Review and long-term survey of the status of captive chimpanzees in Japan in 1926–2013. Primate Res 30:147–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wood BM, Watts DP, Mitani JC, Langergraber KE (2017) Favorable ecological circumstances promote life expectancy in chimpanzees similar to that of human hunter-gatherers. J Hum Evol 105:41–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Research CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan
  3. 3.Institute for Advanced StudyKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Japan Monkey CentreInuyamaJapan

Personalised recommendations