On the 17th of February staff at Africa Alive! were overjoyed to find a very welcome addition to the park’s family of drill monkeys. Drills are among Africa’s most endangered mammals, and are listed by the IUCN as the highest conservation priority of all African primates. They spend some of their time on the ground, but are equally at home in the trees and the sexes differ greatly from one another, with males weighing up to 45 kg (three times the size of females).
This rare primate is found in the dense rainforests of southeastern Nigeria, southwestern Cameroon and on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Very little is known about it in the wild and although it is technically protected by law in Nigeria and Cameroon, those laws are not strongly enforced, and drills not only continue to be hunted, but their habitat is fragmented and shrinking. Consequently, they are one of the most endangered species in Africa.
Parents Donga and Rouka, arrived from Bristol Zoo and Edinburgh Zoo in 2015. Neither had ever bred before, so this baby is extremely important to the captive population and we are thrilled that Rouka is proving to be such a good and attentive mother.
This is yet another important addition to the park and Donga and Rouka’s baby will hopefully play a crucial role in assisting with the European breeding programme for this incredibly endangered species.
Drills are found in only a small area of Africa, an area even smaller than the country of Switzerland.
A dominant male leads a multi-male, multi-female group of 20-30, and is father to most of the young. This group may join others, forming super groups of over 100 individuals. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at approximately 3½ years old, with females giving birth to a single baby after a gestation period of 168 to 176 days.
Diet in the wild:
Drills are omnivores and will eat almost anything. While they mostly eat fruits and various plant material, they can also eat insects, eggs, snails and even small monkeys of other species.
Unfortunately, due to hunting and habitat loss, drills are now Endangered, with as few as 3,000 animals possibly remaining in the wild.
Did You Know?
Male drills have red chins and red, pink and blue bottoms, and when excited, these colours grow brighter.
Notes to the Editor: For further information or to arrange a visit please call Lynne Wilshaw on 01953 715 315 or 07881922619
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