Zoo Animals


Pan troglodytes

At the Detroit Zoo
The Great Apes of Harambee – located in the African Forest – is home to 10 chimpanzees, including the newest addition, Zuhura (Swahili for “morning star”), born to first-time mother Chiana in August 2013. She joins youngsters Akira, an adorable female born in July 2011, and her high-energy brother Ajua, born in September 2008. Imara is the dominant male and father to all three young chimpanzees. Trixi is the dominant female in the habitat. She is mother to twins Tanya and Nyani. Tanya likes playing with the other young chimps while carrying Akira on her back. Nyani enjoys doing her own thing and prefers to be alone. Abby can often be seen sticking her tongue out. She is the mother of Chiana, who often instigates play. Bubbles vocalizes enthusiastically when pumpkins and piñatas are placed in the habitat. Visitors often ask why they can’t see the chimpanzees at all times, and this is because of the large size of their habitat. The animals at the Detroit Zoo have many choices for how they spend their time. If you do not immediately see an animal, we encourage you to spend a few minutes looking around at the various viewing areas and talking to the Docents who can point out the animals if they are resting somewhere. The Great Apes of Harambee is a 4-acre habitat that also houses western lowland gorillas and a drill. The primates spend their days foraging, grooming and playing, just as they would in their native African environment.

The chimpanzee has long black or brown hair covering its body, but has no hair on its face, ears, hands or feet. It has pink skin at birth but, as it grows, the skin turns black. The chimpanzee has fingernails, toenails and opposable thumbs, just like humans. Its small face has a defined brow, small nostrils and a small muzzle.

Fun Facts

  • The chimpanzee shares more than 98 percent of the same genetic material with humans, making it our closest living relative.

  • The chimpanzee is one of the few animal species that makes and uses tools. Examples include using sticks to catch insects and stones to crack open nuts.

  • Chimpanzees live in large groups called communities.