Meet the alpha chimps

Alphabetical | Retired From | Family | Adoptable | Alpha | Birth Month | Tribute

In captivity, dominance hierarchies among chimpanzees may not always resemble hierarchies seen in the wild. Many captive chimpanzees grew up in isolation or had very limited social interactions, never learning the “rules” of society as free-living chimpanzees do. The social structure is therefore sometimes quite different than in the wild, where the hierarchy is very linear, with males dominant over all females. In captivity, females may be more dominant than some males. There may not be a clear-cut alpha male or alpha female, or some chimps may share leadership duties. The hierarchy may not be linear, but rather more like a matrix. However, in both wild and captive chimpanzee groups, one thing is clear—a good alpha is worth his or her weight in gold. The most successful chimpanzee leaders rule with a firm but kind hand, are fair, welcoming, and seek to resolve disputes quickly. This results in group cohesion and relatively few arguments amongst the members of the community. Here, you can find the alpha male and female within each family group.