Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrates the Arrival of a New Baby Mandrill

by | Aug 3, 2023 | Animal Kingdom, Disney News, WDW Blog

A pint-sized mandrill just joined the monkey family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

An entire theme park is celebrating, thanks to a special birth on July 24, 2023. The park’s mandrills have welcomed a new baby! Weighing less than three pounds, the latest addition to the mandrill family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is named Saffron. She’s so petite that she can almost fit right in the palm of your hand!

Currently, Saffron the mandrill is quite tiny – but soon, she’ll start growing. Mandrills are the largest monkey species in the world, meaning Saffron could grow up to 25 pounds in a few years. For the time being, however, this new baby is quite happy to cling tightly to her mom, Hazel, and nurse in the treetops of Kilimanjaro Safaris. See Saffron with her mom below:

The bond between mother and daughter is already strong, too. In mandrill social groupings, the mothers assume most parental responsibilities, and Hazel has been nurturing Saffron since she entered the world. While Saffron does have an older sister, named Ivy, mom Hazel has been so busy keeping Saffron cozy and comforted that the two have yet to interact.

If Saffron’s mom, Hazel, looks somewhat familiar, it’s because Rafiki from The Lion King was based on the mandrill species! Mandrills feature a vibrant hue of colors from head to toe, including shades of bright blue, red, pink, and yellow. Every mandrill’s coloring is unique, and no two strands of hair are the same. Over time, baby Saffron too will develop her own special colors (the process takes about three to four years).

Saffron’s birth also marks a big milestone for mandrills as a species. Only about 4,000 mandrills remain in the wilds of Africa – meaning the introduction of a new baby is exciting news for the vulnerable animals. 

Saffron is a fantastic example of the collaborative work between Disney and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which helps ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species in managed care. Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment also collaborates with Durham University and the Jane Goodall Institute to help rescued and rehabilitated mandrills return to their native habitats in the Republic of Congo.

For more information about the animals of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, keep reading:

A Pair of Rare Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey Babies Born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Zebra Foals Make Their Savanna Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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