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Zoo Mourns Loss of Mandrill

June 15th, 2012

It is with heavy hearts that Potter Park Zoo announces the passing of Abuuka, a 24 year old female mandrill.

“She lived a long, prosperous life,” says Sherrie Graham, interim director of Potter Park Zoo and executive director of the Potter Park Zoological Society. “We are saddened by her passing, but know that she’s at rest now.”

Abuuka came to Lansing in 1989 from South Dakota’s Great Plains Zoo. Over her lifetime she mothered four offspring, most recently in November 2010. Six months ago, the primate care staff noticed a change in Abuuka’s behavior. Test results showed that her kidneys were failing. She was treated with medication to help her feel more comfortable, but there was no cure for her condition.

“There have only been a handful of mandrill births in North America over the past decade, and we’re proud that Abuuka contributed greatly to increasing their numbers,” explains Dr. Tara Harrison, veterinarian at Potter Park Zoo. “She was a kind animal and always brightened up the Feline-Primate House. Her keepers will miss her dearly.”

Mandrills are an endangered species, found only in the rain forests of equatorial Western Africa. They are mainly threatened by habitat loss. The Mandrill Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) keeps records of all mandrills in captivity and advises zoos on breeding plans to perpetuate the species. Potter Park Zoo participates in the Mandrill SSP and is home to three mandrills.