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What’s the City’s Oldest Captive Animal?

Now that the Shedd Aquarium’s lungfish Granddad has died, find out what animal currently holds the title.

Maggie and Ramar   Photos: (Maggie) Lincoln Park Zoo; (Ramar) Chicago Zoological Society

According to records from Chicago’s two major zoos, that honor likely falls to Maggie, a dwarf crocodile at Lincoln Park Zoo estimated to be 51 years old. (The Shedd declined to provide info on its senior critters due to, among other factors, difficulties in determining the age of rescues; we presume they’re still in mourning for Granddad, who, at approximately 86, was the oldest fish in any public aquarium.) All due respect to Maggie, but dwarf crocs often live well beyond half a century—which makes her longevity not as astounding as that of another old-timer, Brookfield Zoo’s Ramar. At 48, he is one of the oldest western lowland gorillas in a North American zoo, having outlived his natural (read: in the wild) life expectancy by nearly a decade. Ramar was raised by humans and reportedly starred in a few showbiz gigs as a youngster. Today, he’s been trained at the zoo to participate in his own specialized health care regimen by offering various body parts for treatment and accepting hand injections—which is vital, as he’s fighting both heart disease and arthritis. We feel ya, Ramar. Getting old sucks.

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