Residing in eastern Africa, Mandrills are the world’s largest monkeys (but not of apes)

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Renowned for their striking hues and unique facial features, these fascinating primates inhabit the dense tropical rainforests of Central Africa, where they form large social groups and navigate the lush vegetation with remarkable agility and grace.

Sporting a mesmerizing array of colors, the mandrill’s appearance is truly a sight to behold. From their vivid red nostrils and lips to their golden-yellow beards and distinctive white tufts, mandrills present a captivating spectacle amidst the verdant greenery of their forest habitat. However, it is perhaps their distinctive facial characteristics that truly set them apart. With an elongated muzzle adorned with a striking red stripe down the middle and protruding blue ridges on the sides, mandrills possess a visage that is both regal and unique.

Despite their remarkable beauty, mandrills face significant challenges to their survival, primarily driven by human activities. Deforestation, fueled by the relentless expansion of agricultural land and logging operations, poses a grave threat to their forest habitat. As vast swathes of pristine rainforest are cleared to make way for agricultural plantations and human settlements, mandrills are increasingly finding themselves pushed to the brink of extinction.

Another pressing concern for mandrills is the rampant hunting for bushmeat, which poses a direct threat to their populations. As a valuable source of protein in many local communities, mandrills are often targeted by hunters seeking to supplement their diet or profit from the sale of their meat. This unsustainable exploitation, coupled with habitat loss, has led to a significant decline in mandrill populations across their range, prompting conservationists to classify them as vulnerable species.


Population est.
Equatorial Guinea

Did you know?

  • The binomial name of this monkey is Mandrillus sphinx, and it is believed to be inspired by the mythical figure of Greece, the Sphinx, which has a human head and an animal body.
  • They are the most colorful, as well as the largest, species of monkey on the globe.
  • Buffon researched and named these’ ‘great baboons,’ ‘tufted apes, and ‘ribbed-nose baboons’ as a mandrill. However, the first discovery and existence of the mandrill is represented by an illustration by Swiss naturalist and renowned encyclopaedist Conrad Gesner. He thought that this rather stubbly and dog-like creature might be some type of hyena!
  • The wise, colorful knowledge-keeper monkey character Rafiki in Disney’s iconic The Lion King, who guides Simba, is none other than a Mandrill!
  • Mandrills live in troops, called hordes, with hundreds of individuals. The largest observably seen horde had more than 1,300 mandrills, making it the largest non-human gathering ever recorded.
  • Mandrill genetic studies and genomic resources are sparse, particularly when compared to other primate species.
  • Although there are no estimates of the population for the present, experts thought that over the previous 24 years, their numbers may have fallen by more than 30%. Their natural range has experienced extensive habitat destruction, but it has also been compounded worse due to the more direct threat of hunting for food.
  • The bushmeat trade places a high priority on mandrills, especially huge males. Because they are slow to mature and have a long lifespan (over~ 30 years), prolonged poaching pressure has had a significant impact on their populations.
  • The first instance of the soil-dwelling, brain-eating amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris was found in the brain of a mandrill in the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 1986.
  • Mandrills possess unusually long canines that can be used for self-defense; however, showing (flashing) them off is typically a sign of friendship in mandrills.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No