Two recent additions to the Peoria Zoo have welcomed their own addition — a baby mandrill born Aug. 19.
The infant was born to first-time mom, Kofola, and dad, Linus, the zoo said Tuesday in a Facebook post. Kofola arrived at Peoria Zoo in 2022 from Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Linus arrived this year.
How are mom and baby faring?
The newborn is thriving, the zoo reported, and being well taken care of by Kofola. “Baby is very interested in everything going on around him/her, is very watchful, and curious,” animal keeper Regan Slonecker said in the post. “He/she has started reaching for things and is crawling all over mom.”
What are mandrills?
Mandrills are among the largest species of monkeys. Male mandrills famously sport bright red and vibrant blue cheeks as well as blue rumps. (The gender of the new Peoria mandrill is not yet known.) The species is native to the rainforests of equatorial Africa.
Are mandrills endangered?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists mandrills as a vulnerable species. They are threatened by hunting, habitat destruction, mining and drilling.
Related:Peoria Zoo’s male mandrill dies
The Peoria mandrills were recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, the zoo said in the Facebook post. Apparently, the plan was sound. Dad Linus arrived at Peoria Zoo on Feb. 17, and mandrills’ gestation period is about six months.
“As a first-time mom, we didn’t know how Kofola would handle the birth and rearing of the infant,” zoo director Yvonne Strode said in the post. As a precaution, the zoo arranged with OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois for use of an incubator, which wasn’t needed.
Can zoo visitors see the baby?
The public can view the newborn, but the zoo has added some exhibit precautions. Kofola and the infant are spending most of their time in an indoor viewing room, but the zoo has expanded its perimeter with temporary barriers. Mom and baby also have access to off-exhibit areas for privacy.
Peoria troop growing
The Peoria Zoo’s group of mandrills also includes Tara, another female. Tara “has shown interest in the infant but mom is keeping him/her close,” the post said. (In the wild, large, stable groups of mandrills known as “hordes” can number in the hundreds.)=
What’s in the name?
“Mandrill” is derived from two words. “Man” means “man-like,” while “drill” is a West African name for “baboon” or “ape,” according to Wikipedia.
Mandrills have had noteworthy roles in several films, including:
“The Lion King” (1994): The mandrill Rafiki is the chief adviser and close friend of the lion king Mufasa. Rafiki memorably holds the newborn cub Simba in the “Circle of Life” scene.
“Jumanji: The Next Level” (2019): Mandrills pursue the party over collapsing rope bridges.
“Tarzan” (1999): The alpha “baboon” has traits common to both that species and mandrills, including the brightly colored face.