Cobby, America’s oldest male chimpanzee dies at 63 – Rest in peace

Rest in peace, Cobby!


The San Francisco Zoo shared the heartbreaking news of the passing of America’s oldest chimpanzee, Cobby. “Our hearts are broken with this devastating loss,” the press release by the CEO and Executive Director of San Francisco Zoological Society, Tanya M. Peterson, read.

The life of this incredible animal was rich and he was surrounded by people and caretakers who loved him unconditionally. Cobby, who was 63 at the time of his death, which is past the life expectancy of male chimpanzees, was a true legend of the zoo.

He was described as a gentle soul and as a leader who helped many new animals of his kind get used to the life at the zoo. “Cobby [was] the respected elder who was able to bring together this newly formed group,” the zoo wrote in their press release.

The beautiful animal was a performing chimp raised by humans before he became part of the zoo during the 1960’s.

“Cobby was both a charismatic and compassionate leader of our chimpanzee troop. For so many years, he was a protective companion, demonstrating patience and resilency. He also was a favorite of visitors and staff, recognizing so many of us.”

His passing left a huge void in the hearts of the caretakers, the visitors, and his two best friends, the female chimps Minnie and Maggie.

“He was one of the first animals whom I personally knew as Director,” Tanya M. Peterson said. “His death will be felt deeply by our staff, many of whom cared for him for decades.”

“Cobby was part of San Francisco,” Peterson added. “He touched so many lives, and people have so many memories of him. He is irreplaceable, and our hearts are broken. We will all miss seeing his handsome grey beard watching over us from the top platform of the yard.”

The exact cause of death remains unknown, but Cobby had health issues and probably died of old age. He was truly one of a kind and will be dearly missed by many. Rest in peace, Cobby!