Fatou, world’s oldest living gorilla, turns 67 — happy birthday!

Some animals are blessed with exceptionally long lives, and a special few even hold the distinction as the oldest living member of their species.

Fatou, the “grande dame” of the Berlin Zoo, is believed to be the world’s oldest living gorilla — and this week she celebrated her milestone 67th birthday!

Fatou was born in the wild in West Africa in 1957, before being transported to France two years later. She was then acquired by the Berlin Zoo, where she has spent most of her historically long life.

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 13: Gorilla Fatou residing at Berlin Zoo celebrates her 65th birthday with a birthday cake made of fruits in Berlin, Germany on April 13, 2022. (Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

She is confirmed to be the oldest living gorilla in any zoo, and since gorillas live longer in captivity than in the wild, she is presumed to be the oldest in the world.

Fatou claimed the record in 2019, after the death of Trudy, who lived at the Little Rock Zoo, in 2019. Following the death of the Louisville Zoo’s elder gorilla Helen in 2022, Fatou is the only living gorilla born in the 1950s.

According to AP, she officially celebrated her 67th birthday on Saturday, where she was treated with a tasty treat basket of fruits and vegetables:

The treats become a tradition for Fatou’s birthday. According to a press release from last year, gorillas only eat fruit on rare, special occasions like this and usually limit their sugar intake.

“We always make sure Fatou gets healthy meals that are appropriate for her needs,” deputy division head Ruben Gralki said in the release. “Given her advanced age and lack of teeth, Fatou requires very soft foods that she can easily chew.”

World’s oldest gorilla, Fatou, eats her birthday cake as she turns 61 at the zoo in Berlin, Germany on April 13, 2018. (Photo by Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

For the Berlin zookeepers, this birthday is extra significant: not only is Fatou the oldest gorilla in the world, she’s also now the oldest animal at the zoo, following the death of 75-year-old Ingo the flamingo earlier this year, per AP.

In her old age, Fatou reportedly likes to keep things low-key: she has her own enclosure and likes to keep distance from the other gorillas, as their “antics” would be “too much for the frail old lady.”

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“Fatou is free to contact her neighbours at any time if she would like to, but instead she purposefully seeks solitude and stays away from the other gorillas,” Gralki said.

While Fatou isn’t much for socializing, the staff keeps an eye on her to make sure she is happy and active.

Happy birthday to Fatou, the world’s oldest gorilla! Wishing her many more happy years 🎂🎉

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