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Granby Zoo greets baby mandrill as newly renovated outdoor habitat opens

The first baby mandrill born at the Granby Zoo since 2021 happened on May 24, 2024. (Source: Granby Zoo) The first baby mandrill born at the Granby Zoo since 2021 happened on May 24, 2024. (Source: Granby Zoo)
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The Granby Zoo announced Wednesday that it welcomed a new member to its mandrill family on May 24. The baby mandrill was the first one born there since 2021.

Known for their bright red and blue faces, mandrills are the world's largest and most colourful monkeys and are native to the rainforests of equatorial Africa.

The zoo stated that the arrival of the baby mandrill is a glimmer of hope for the sustainability of the species' population. Their mandrill breeding efforts are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)'s Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to foster genetically diverse animal populations.

"We want to make sure that we are sustainable for the next 100 years so that we don't have to bring any new genes from the wild," said Granby Zoo Curator Chantal Routhier about the birth.

The baby mandrill with its mother. (Source: Granby Zoo)

Of 236 AZA-accredited institutions, the Granby Zoo is the only Canadian institution actively breeding mandrills under the SSP.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as vulnerable, and the current population trends are decreasing.

Mandrills are threatened by deforestation and poaching, as their meat is considered a delicacy in African culture. According to Routhier, mandrills usually live up to 32 years old in their natural habitat.

Six mandrills live in a recently renovated habitat in the African area of the Granby Zoo, including one breeding male, four females, and the newborn, which Routhier suspects is a female. She said the newborn is thriving in its mother's care.

"It's her third baby, she's really a good mother. The little one is very tiny, but it is very attracted to other things, other mandrills," said Routhier.

"[The mother is] going to let it go in about two or three weeks and there's collaboration also from the other members of the group, so it's part of the learning of the young."

Renovations of the mandrills' habitat were recently completed after starting in 2020 and were valued at $1.3 million. The new habitat gives them better access to the outside.

"We have a little stream, we have natural trees, different structures so they can play. They can use the height if they want to," she said. "The new exhibit is very awesome."

The young mandrill doesn't have a name yet, and the public can already see the new baby at the zoo. 

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