Disney’s Animal Kingdom has always been a place of wonder and excitement, a place where visitors can experience the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom up close. Now, there’s a new reason to visit: The recent birth of a baby mandrill monkey named Saffron.
Saffron, who was born on July 24th, is a petite bundle of joy, weighing under three pounds and small enough to fit in your hand. Despite her current size, she belongs to the world’s largest monkey species, the mandrills, and could grow to weigh as much as 25 pounds. For now, Saffron stays close to her mother, Hazel, nursing and clinging to her in the treetops of their habitat at Kilimanjaro Safaris.
In mandrill societies, mothers take on most parental duties. Hazel has been a nurturing mother to Saffron, grooming her to soothe her, similar to how humans rock their babies. The bond between Hazel and Saffron is so strong that Ivy, Saffron’s sister, hasn’t even had a chance to hold her yet.
Mandrills are known for their vibrant colorations – brilliant blues, reds, and pinks on their faces, and yellow manes. Each mandrill’s pattern is unique, with no two strands of hair being identical. As Saffron matures over the next three to four years, she will develop her own distinct, bright coloration.
In addition to their facial colorations, mandrills have distinctive markings on their back. These markings aid family groups in following each other through Africa’s dense forests.
Saffron’s birth is not only a joyous event but also a beacon of hope for this vulnerable species. With only about 4,000 mandrills left in the wild, every birth is a crucial step towards preserving this beautiful species. Saffron’s arrival demonstrates the efforts made in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. This initiative promotes responsible breeding of endangered species in managed care, ensuring healthy and genetically diverse animal populations for future generations.
So, if you’re planning a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom soon, be sure to stop by Kilimanjaro Safaris to catch a glimpse of Saffron and all the other incredible animals as well. We recently covered an unforgettable encounter with two zebra foals in Kilimanjaro Safaris, so be sure to check that article out as well. Saffron is a shining example of the park’s dedication to animal conservation and a testament to the magic of nature that Disney’s Animal Kingdom strives to share with its visitors.