One of the World's Oldest Gorillas Turns 61, Goes Ape on a Cake to Celebrate

Kelli Bender

After a year of eating healthy, Fatou deserves this sweet treat.

The Berlin Zoo gorilla turned an impressive 61 this month. To celebrate, her home presented a delicious cake to the primate, complete with fruit, rice and quark (a creamy, dairy substance popular in Germany).

A lady sixty-one times over, Fatou didn’t let manners stand in the way of having a good time. The gorilla eagerly gobbled up the confection, using her hands to shovel large scoops into her mouth. Once the cake was all gone, Fatou was left with quite a mess, but that’s how you know the cake was good.

The treat is a rare goodie for the sexagenarian. The zoo wrote on its blog post about the birthday party that the primate stays on a healthy, low sugar diet for most of the year, but is always treated to sweets on her birthday.

This is an especially big birthday for Fatou. She is one of the world’s oldest gorillas, sharing the title with another female that resides at the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas. Sixty-one is the Berlin zoo’s best guess at Fatou’s true age, since there is no way for the facility to know how old the animal is for sure.

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She arrived at the zoo in 1959 after being used by a sailor to pay a bar tab in France. Fifty nine years later, Fatou is one of the most beloved animals at the Berlin Zoo, a favorite among the guests who grew up visiting the facility.

Surprisingly, she is not the oldest animal living at Berlin Zoo; that honor belongs to a flamingo named Ingo, who is at least 70, according to the park.