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Chester Zoo have announced the birth of two baby Mandrills. These are the first Mandrills born at the zoo in more than ten years!

I’ve tried not to do news stories which are simply ‘this animal was born here’ but I think that the Mandrill is very cute and it is currently a slow news week.

Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) are the largest of all the monkeys. They come from the rainforests of equatorial Africa and live in big troops with a dominant male and a dozen females.

One of the things you notice about a Mandrill is its striking face with a red muzzle with blue ridges. You also notice the very bright bottom much to the amusement of most children at every zoo with these beautiful animals.

The young don’t develop the coloured face until they reach sexual maturity

They are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species following recent large declines in the population. This is largely due to spreading agriculture in Africa reducing the amount of forest these monkeys have available. It doesn’t help that they are often hunted as bushmeat with many Africans considering them to be a delicacy.

Dr Nick Davis, Assistant Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said:

“Like many primate species, mandrills live in large and very complex groups made up of strict hierarchies. Our primate experts, using their decades of experience and know how, have closely monitored the group over the years to understand its delicate balance.

Now, Kamau, a new dominant male who has been carefully integrated with the other 10 members, appears to have really hit it off with the females. The two youngsters he has sired will now join a co-ordinated breeding programme with other leading conservation zoos and add to the important insurance population for this charismatic species.”

Here you can see the difference in face colour between the adult and the youngster

The full Chester Zoo article can be found here, as can the original photos.

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