by David Mendez
DJ the mandrill, a 21-year resident of the Reid Park Zoo, born there in August of 1991, has died. He was euthanized by zoo staff yesterday, after they determined that it was "clear he would no longer have a reasonable quality of life." Despite numerous health issues over the years, DJ's lifespan actually exceeded that of the average mandrill—a testament both to his hardiness and the work of the Reid Park staffers.
In honor of DJ's passing, we've decided to include the timeless Sarah McLachlan song "Angel" in today's post in his memory. May you be as colorful in the hereafter as you were on earth, DJ.
Read the Reid Park Zoo release announcing DJ's death below the jump.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of “DJ” the male mandrill
yesterday, November 26, 2012. DJ had a history of health concerns
related to diabetes, arthritis, and valley fever, which were well
managed until his health deteriorated rapidly over the past several
weeks. He lost interest in food, developed a cough, and stopped
responding to medications. When it became clear that he would no longer
have a reasonable quality of life, Zoo staff members made the difficult
decision to euthanize him.
DJ was born August, 1991 at Reid Park Zoo. “At 21 years old, he
surpassed the median life expectancy of 19,” stated Jim Schnormeier
the Zoo’s General Curator. “I am very proud of the quality of life
our staff provided him, given his age and complicated medical history.
Their training expertise, husbandry skills, and attention to whole-life
care are what afforded this animal a long and active life.” Through
positive training DJ participated in his own care by allowing keepers to
monitor his blood sugar and deliver insulin and other medications to him
Mandrills are an endangered species native to Western Africa most known
for their bright blue and red faces, and hairless red rumps. The Reid
Park Zoo participates in the Mandrill Species Survival Plan (SSP)
through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). There is one
remaining Mandrill named “Cere” in the Zoo’s collection. Zoo staff
will work with the SSP to determine how Reid Park Zoo can best assist
with the future of the mandrill program.
Reid Park Zoo is open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. For directions and
information visit the Zoo’s website at tucsonzoo.org.