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The newest member of the Drill troop at Hellabrunn Zoo was born June 24th.  The tiny male, named Pinto, is the offspring of dad, Bakut (12), and experienced mom Kaduna (10).  

This is Kaduna’s third baby; her two oldest sons are Nepomuk, who was born on 8 May 2013, and Oneto, born on 11 September 2014. The Drill family at the zoo in Munich is now comprised of seven members: Bakut, Kaduna, Afi, Nepomuk, Napongo, Oneto and the new baby. 

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4_Drill-Jungtier Pinto mit Mama Kaduna_Hellabrunn_2015_Marc  Müller (4)Photo Credits: Marc Müller

Zoo director Rasem Baban is delighted with the birth of the new baby, "In just two years, four Drill babies were born at Hellabrunn, three of which are the offspring of Kaduna and Bakut. We are especially proud of the successful breeding, as Drills are among the most endangered primate species in the world. Little Pinto now lives with his brothers and the three adult Drills, in the Monkey World at Hellabrunn, where he can join in exploring the newly designed outdoor enclosure with natural rock walls and climbing facilities, as well as many plants and a water course."

At the moment, Pinto prefers clinging to mama Kaduna’s belly. This is the safest place for him, and he knows he won't have to go far to get mama's milk. The baby of the family needs a lot of milk, so Kaduna currently prefers to eat energy-boosting foods such as bananas and protein-rich pellets. In addition to draining the mother's energy, a lot of patience is required to raise the young baby. Infant drills, like Pinto, are suckled up to a year, but they also begin to try solid food a few months after birth. Adult Drills, at Hellabrunn Zoo, eat mainly vegetables (lettuce and leeks) and all kinds of fruit.

The Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is a primate of the family Cercopithecidae, closely related to Baboons and even more closely to Mandrills. The Drill is short-tailed and up to 28 inches (70 cm) long. It is similar in appearance to the Mandrill, but it lacks the bright blue and red face of that species. Males typically weight up to 110 lbs. (50 kg) and females up to 27.5 lbs. (12.5 kg).

In the wild, a dominant male Drill will lead a group (or 'troop') of about 20-30 males and females. This leader is father to most of the young, as well. A group of Drills, in the wild, are seasonally seminomadic. They are semi terrestrial, foraging mainly on the ground, but climbing trees to sleep at night. The females generally give birth to a single baby. Their diet is primarily frugivorous, taking a wide range of fruit, but they also eat herbs, roots, eggs, insects, and small mammals on occasion.

In Europe, there are less than 70 Drills living in 16 zoos. Hellabrunn Zoo coordinates the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and manages the International Studbook (ISB) for the Drill. The zoo in Munich is also a member of the Save the Drill Association, which supports the Pandrillus project in Nigeria and Cameroon. Hellabrunn is making an important contribution to the conservation of the species by breeding Drills and showing its commitment to Drills living in the wild.

The Drill is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Only about 3,500 animals survive in their natural habitat in Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon and the island of Bioko. That means that the habitat of the drill is smaller than the size of Switzerland. Ongoing deforestation and the relentless hunting of this primate species are the prime reasons for its endangered status.

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