KEEPERS at Paignton Zoo are marking a special birth.
The Zoo has its first baby mandrill since 2008.
Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “Each birth is another success for the international breeding programme. This baby is good for the family group dynamics and in the long term may be required for conservation breeding.”
The new arrival was born on January 29 to mother Makemba and father Jumanji.
Jumanji was born at Safari De Peaugres, France, and has been at Paignton Zoo since 2004, while Makemba was herself born at Paignton Zoo in 2005.
The other members of the group are Akello, who is half-brother to Makemba and was born in 2005 at Paignton Zoo, and two other females, Mirjam and Marta, who both arrived from Budapest Zoo in 2012.
Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx)are endangered primates from the rainforests of west Africa. Despite their fearsome appearance they feed on fruit, fungi, insects, nuts, roots, seeds and small invertebrates. Their colouring is thought to help keep the group together whilst travelling in the rainforest. A single youngster is born after a gestation of 5 to 6 months.
Threats to the species include habitat destruction and hunting. There is a European Endangered species Programme for the mandrill and it is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.