The Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is saddened by the loss of JJ, a 20-year-old male mandrill. He was humanely euthanized on December 30.
On Sunday, December 21, the animal care staff found JJ with limited mobility and reluctant to stand for extended periods of time. His signs were suggestive of a severe neurological problem. Despite intensive
care and treatment, his condition rapidly deteriorated. Successive blood analyses indicated that his kidneys were also failing. With his
conditions rapidly and irreversibly deteriorating, the decision was made to humanely euthanize him. Necropsy results are pending.
"JJ has been a longtime favorite of guests and keepers alike," said Chuck Doyle, director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. "We are devastated by his passing and will miss him dearly. It's tough to lose a member of the zoo family, especially during the holidays."
JJ was born at the Brookfield Zoo on February 6, 1988 and came to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on November 18, 1991. His mate, Zenani and daughters Eebi and Kelley continue to reside at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. He has two sons, Kinshasa, who lives at the Asheboro Zoo with his
mother, Mandela, and Ouage, who resides at the Granby Zoo with his mother, Kamili.
Mandrills are the world's most colorful known mammal, clad in mostly olive colored fur, accompanied by bright red and blue faces. The males are much more colorful than the females, with bright lavender-blue rumps that grow more striking with sexual maturity. When angered, the chest of a male mandrill will turn vivid blue and bright red spots will appear on his wrists and ankles. Mandrills typically live and travel in cooperative social groups. The dominant males can weigh up to 120 pounds.
The largest of the monkeys, mandrills have been listed as endangered since 1976. Additionally, there has been a drastic decline in the mandrill population due to habitat destruction and because they are hunted for their meat. Due to severely limited funds for conservation in West Africa and the difficulty in monitoring the mandrill in the
forest, extinction in the wild is a serous threat.
A memorial piece will be available for signing by zoo guests at the mandrill exhibit. Those who wish to share a special JJ memory with members of the zoo staff should send an e-mail to email@example.com. The Friends of the Zoo is accepting donations to the recently created the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Animal Healthcare Fund in memory of JJ. This fund ensures that all the animals
living at the zoo continue receiving exceptional veterinary care by purchasing state-of-the art medical equipment and other necessary supplies.