Image: Suzie, a 56-year-old chimpanzee, holds her newborn.
The Manhattan Mercury / Michael Schweitzer  /  AP
Suzie, a 56-year-old chimpanzee, holds her newborn at Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kan. The female chimp was born on Aug. 18, 2010. Suzie might be the oldest known chimpanzee to give birth in captivity.
updated 8/24/2010 3:32:09 PM ET 2010-08-24T19:32:09

A 56-year-old chimpanzee has surprised officials at a zoo in northeast Kansas by giving birth.

Officials at Sunset Zoo in Manhattan announced Monday that Suzie the chimp gave birth to a female on Aug. 18 and that the mother and baby are in good health.

Zoo director Scott Shoemaker says Suzie was taken off birth control because of medical concerns — and because zoo officials didn't think she would get pregnant at her age.

Zoo curator Mark Ryan says he hasn't heard of any older chimpanzee who has given birth anywhere in the country.

The Manhattan Mercury says Suzie is the third oldest chimpanzee among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Chimpanzees in captivity usually live to about 60 years of age.

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