New Mandrills in TransAlta Rainforest

Jun 04, 2014

The month of June is Zoo and Aquarium month, and what better way to celebrate than to spend each week featuring one of our diverse sections! This first week is dedicated to Africa and the animals found in our TransAlta Rainforest and African Savannah buildings. Recently this section acquired a bachelor troop of mandrills to add to the Rainforest Building - three brothers named Yusufu (10), Tumbili (9), and Babu (7). They arrived on April 15th, 2014 from the Granby Zoo in Quebec and after a standard quarantine, they were revealed to the public on May 16th, 2014.

The three new mandrills are an exciting addition to our Calgary Zoo collection, not only because they are the largest monkey in the world, but also because of their unique characteristics- note their bright faces (and behinds!). If you stop by to visit, you might see them munching on bark, shoots and fruit, but also looking for bugs; these monkeys are omnivorous, and will eat eggs and small mammals or reptiles in the wild. Mandrills are considered vulnerable in their native home in the equatorial rainforests of Africa, in countries such as Gabon, Cameroon, Congo and Guinea. They are experiencing habitat loss, as well as a decline in population due to the bush meat trade. Mandrills are considered a rare delicacy by the locals while their notable size and tendencies to live in large terrestrial troops makes them an easy hunting target, not to mention their natural predators are leopards, large eagles and rock pythons.

As a conservation institution, the Calgary Zoo is passionate about preserving vulnerable species like these amazing mandrills. Introducing these monkeys is also a great opportunity to bring more primates back into the zoo, as several of our primate species had to leave to other zoos last year when the South America building was damaged after the flood. When you visit you might catch a Keeper Talk and learn that the bright blue and pink colours of the males will grow even brighter with age and during breeding season, or that the baring of their teeth, while looking quite menacing, is actually often a friendly gesture!