Mandrill — The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Cercopithecidae (Old-world monkeys) family, closely related to the baboons and even more closely to the Drill. Both the Mandrill and the Drill were once classified as baboons in genus Papio, but recent research has determined that they should be separated into their own genus, Mandrillus. The Mandrill is the world’s largest species of monkey. The word mandrill means “man-ape”.
The Mandrill is recognized by its olive-colored fur and the colorful face and rump of males, a coloration that grows stronger with sexual maturity; females have duller colors. This coloration becomes more pronounced as the monkey becomes excited and is likely to be an example of sexual selection. The coloration on the rump is thought to enhance visibility in the thick vegetation of the rainforest and aids in group movement.
Males can weigh up to 60 lbs (30 kg), females about half as much (30lbs). They can grow to be about 1 m long (39 in) and can survive up to 31 years in captivity. Females reach sexual maturity at about 3.5 years.
Mandrills are social creatures and live in large groups, primarily including females and young and led by a single dominant male. Most adult males are solitary. It is difficult to accurately estimate group size in the forest, but filming a group crossing a gap between two forest patches or crossing a road is a reliable way of estimating group size. The largest group verifiably observed in this way contained over 1300 individuals, in Lopé National Park, Gabon – the largest aggregation of non-human primates ever recorded.
The Mandrill is an omnivore and acquires its food by foraging (mainly plants, insects and smaller animals) from the ground as it is terrestrial. Its main natural predators are leopards.
A large group of mandrills can cause significant damage to crops in a very short time, and where common they are widely perceived as pests.
Mandrills are hunted for food throughout their range, either with guns or using dogs and nets. In Cameroon, habitat loss to agriculture is also a threat.
Although the Mandrill does not normally hunt larger prey, males have been observed to hunt and consume duiker (a small antelope).