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Arrival of baby mandrill is a boost for Paignton Zoo

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

Paignton Zoo's first baby mandrill has been born since 2008

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Zoo keepers are marking the first birth in five years of a West African variety of monkey.

Staff at Paignton Zoo were delighted when this baby mandrill, the first of its kind since 2008, arrived three weeks ago.

The new arrival was born on January 29 to mother Makemba – born at the Devon zoo in 2005 – and father Jumanji, born in France.

Neil Bemment, curator of mammals, said: "Each birth is another success for the international breeding programme. This baby is good for the family group dynamics and may be required for conservation breeding."

Other members of the group are Akello, who is half-brother to Makemba, born in 2005, and two other females, Mirjam and Marta, who arrived at the zoo from Budapest Zoo last year.

Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) are endangered primates – threatened with habitat destruction and hunting – from West Africa rainforests.

There is a European endangered species programme for the mandrill, which is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Despite their fearsome appearance, they feed on fruit, fungi, insects, nuts, roots, seeds and small invertebrates. Their colouring is thought to help keep them together while travelling in the rainforest.

A single youngster is born after a gestation period of five to six months.

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