NGG_1832c__Marco[1]

Getting To Know Them Better

Marco is the oldest great ape at the sanctuary and arrived here in November 2005 after living alone for 30 years in a tiny backyard cage in South Carolina.

He was born in the wilds of Africa, and when his mother was shot and killed by poachers, Marco was taken to be sold and shipped to North America. He ended up with a circus family and performed in a small traveling circus in Oklahoma. When the circus trainers bought him, he had rickets (a nutritional deficiency of vitamin D). Rickets possibly affected his development and overall size because Marco is the smallest adult male chimpanzee most people have seen.

No one would everr accurately guess how old Marco is based on his size. He is over 60-years-old, and only weighs about 80 pounds (a full-grown, adult male in captivity normally weighs 145 to 180 pounds). People sometimes think he looks like a miniature gorilla because Marco has a very square-shaped hip and rear-end stance with a lot of silver hair on his back.

When his circus owners retired, they sold the other chimpanzees in their act but kept Marco as a pet since he was the youngest and smallest. So, for the next 30 years, he lived alone at their home never seeing another chimpanzee. When he arrived at the Center for Great Apes, he was very nervous around the other chimps, but eventually was successfully introduced to Butch, another wild-caught older ex-circus chimpanzee. Butch and Marco are now the best of friends and don’t like to be parted from each other.

If Butch barks at something, Marco’s bark comes immediately after. Marco has a very unique sounding food grunt that sounds like a pterodactyl.  Every food is his favorite food.

Back to Meet the Chimpanzee

Birthday

Marco was wild caught in Africa in 1959 or 1960.

Interesting Facts

  • He loves frozen juice “Boomer” balls for his enrichment.
  • Marco loves to play chase and will initiate a game each time someone walks by his habitat. But, he is the ultimate cheater and will cut corners to ensure he wins!
  • Marco is rather spunky and full of energy which is surprising since he is over 60-years-old.

ADOPT AN APE

It costs $22,000 a year to care for one of our apes. By symbolically adopting the ape of your choice for a one-time donation of $300 OR just $25 a month for one year, you are helping ensure the health, safety, and well-being of your orangutan or chimpanzee.

Can't Adopt?

In addition to cash donations, the Center for Great Apes is always in need of food, enrichment items, and supplies. We welcome gifts of all kinds.

Wishlist

Want to know what we need? We have a list of things we would like to have.

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