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Rita, India’s oldest chimpanzee, set to find a place in Limca records book

Rita was born at the Amsterdam zoo on December 15, 1960, and was brought to Delhi on February 27, 1964, in exchange for domestic cranes.

delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2018 10:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
chimpanzee,oldest chimpanzee,Limca records book
Chimpanzee Rita, 58, during her birthday celebration at an enclosure at Delhi zoo in New Delhi on December 14, 2017.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Rita, 57, India’s oldest chimpanzee and an inmate of the Delhi zoo, is all set to find a place in the Limca Book of Records.

“Earlier this year, we had applied to the Limca Book of Records for the recognition of Rita. She is not just the oldest member of the zoo, but also the oldest chimpanzee in India and probably the oldest in Asia,” Renu Singh, director of the National Zoological Park, locally known as Delhi zoo, said.

Even though chimpanzees survive for around 40 to 50 years in the wild, their life expectancy increases in captivity. The oldest living chimpanzee on record, Little Mama, died in a US safari park in November 2017 at the age of 79.

The Delhi zoo, which has been mired in controversy, would probably be the first in the country to register its name in the Limca book riding on Rita.

Rita was born at the Amsterdam zoo on December 15, 1960, and was brought to Delhi on February 27, 1964, in exchange for domestic cranes.

“Soon after celebrating her birthday, we decided to apply to the Limca Book of Records. A team of representatives had come to the zoo to check out Rita. Another team of officials from the Limca Book of Records is expected this month for the final check,” said Abhijit Bhawal, veterinarian of the zoo.

Limca Book of Records is touted to be the Indian equivalent of the Guinness Book of World Records and documents unique achievements of Indians. It was first published in 1990.

“She is all set to find a place in the record book and we are excited as this would make us the first zoo in India to find a mention in the Limca Book of Records. The process is all set to be completed by October this year,” said Singh.

After her arrival, Rita was paired with Max, a male chimpanzee from London zoo. Together, they had four children but none survived. She was then sent to a zoo in Punjab for nearly two decades for a breeding programme from 1985 to 2006.

At present, there are at least 23 chimpanzees, including 10 males and 13 females, in zoos across India, according Central Zoo Authority data.

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 10:04 IST