New Orleans: The Audubon Zoo has welcomed a pair of Mandrills to their World of Primates exhibit space this month. The expansive exhibit area showcases western lowland gorillas, lemurs, siamangs, and golden lion tamarins.
The pair of Mandrills are residing in the former orangutan exhibit space. The orangutans were moved last October to a new exhibit space within the Asian Domain section of the zoo. Mapema is a 17-year-old male mandrill from the Bronx Zoo and Jinx is a 13-year-old female from Florida’s Lowry Park Zoo.
Animal care staff took several weeks to help acclimiate the mandrills to their new surroundings as well as each other.
The mandrill is the largest of the monkeys and is currently listed as a vulnerable species. The decision to move this pair together was made in an effort to maintain genetic diversity if the animals breed.
“Mapema is genetically valuable and a proven breeder,” said Assistant Curator of Primates Roby Elsner. “Jinx is well socialized and her care staff thinks she will make an excellent mother. We look forward to teaching our staff and guests about these amazing and beautiful primates.”
Jinx was born into a group consisting of a mother and two older brothers. Keepers are happy that Jinx will live in a setting with another unrelated male. The vulnerability status of the mandrill stems from both hunting and the deforestation of their natural habitats. Wild mandrills are found in Nigeria, southern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo. The species live in groups within tropical rainforests.
Known for their distinctive markings, the mandrill is considered among the world’s most exotic creatures. The Audubon Zoo is proud to share them with their guests, educate the public on their plight, and make positive strides in the conservation of this species through responsible breeding.