We'll miss you, Victoria

We are saddened to let our Zoo family know about the passing of one of our mandrills. Victoria, the second-oldest living mandrill in the AZA population at age 35, passed away on Saturday, April 23.

She had shown a significantly decreased appetite and lethargy on Friday and was being closely monitored by our keeper staff and veterinary team. Unfortunately, on Saturday morning she was noted to have acutely declined overnight, leading to an emergent evaluation. She was found to have significant bloodwork changes and a small amount of fluid around her heart. She passed away while under anesthesia. At this time, the cause of her sudden decline is likely related to her advanced age and presumed organ failure; however, the exact cause is still being determined by pathologists.

In April 2018, both Victoria and her half-sister, Nikki, arrived from the Oregon Zoo and were later introduced to our male mandrill, Jax, who arrived the following year.  Although we had rarely had mandrills that we needed to worry about climbing trees, Victoria quickly proved us wrong and climbed one of the very tall trees near the front of the exhibit without much effort.  That tree has beautifully painted flashing on it now. It is one of our favorite memories which Danyelle, our baboon primary keeper, also shares below.

As mentioned, she was the second oldest living mandrill in the AZA population (Nikki is the oldest) and mandrills have a median life expectancy of 18.3 years. She and Nikki retired to Arizona from a cooler, wetter climate and have endeared themselves to our Primate staff. 

It is a testament to the dedicated care of AZA-accredited institutions to have mandrills that far surpass median life expectancy and
they have definitely enjoyed their time here in their golden years.



From Senior Keeper, Danyelle:

Although they were both already retirement age, Victoria showed off her adventurous side on one of her first days on exhibit by climbing the very tall Tipu tree. She continued to surprise keepers with her feistiness as she “threatened” them by slapping her shelf in the morning and made random vocalizations when no one was paying attention. Victoria perfected the “grab and run” technique when it came to enrichment and treats. She always wanted what was offered but didn’t want to stay too close. She was also very cautious with shifting and was a lesson in patience for her keepers. She was known to peek out the exhibit door first to determine if she wanted to go outside and would often pass on rainy or cold days. She will be greatly missed… from her crazy crooked fingers to the way she would sit like she was waiting for the bus. The top shelf will feel especially empty now when keepers greet the group in the mornings.