After a history of health problems, Reid Park Zoo staff euthanized the adult male mandrill, DJ, on Monday.
According to zoo officials, DJ had a history of health concerns related to diabetes, arthritis, and valley fever, which were well managed until his health deteriorated rapidly over the past several weeks. He lost interest in food, developed a cough, and stopped responding to medications. When it became clear that he would no longer have a reasonable quality of life, Zoo staff members made the difficult decision to euthanize him.
DJ was born August, 1991 at Reid Park Zoo.
“At 21 years old, he surpassed the median life expectancy of 19,” stated Jim Schnormeier the Zoo’s General Curator. “I am very proud of the quality of life our staff provided him, given his age and complicated medical history. Their training expertise, husbandry skills, and attention to whole-life care are what afforded this animal a long and active life.”
Through positive training, DJ participated in his own care by allowing keepers to monitor his blood sugar and deliver insulin and other medications to him regularly.
Mandrills are an endangered species native to Western Africa most known for their bright blue and red faces, and hairless red rumps.
The Reid Park Zoo participates in the Mandrill Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). There is one remaining Mandrill named “Cere” in the Zoo’s collection. Zoo staff will work with the SSP to determine how Reid Park Zoo can best assist with the future of the mandrill program.