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Nov 27, 2012 12:20 PM by Ian Cross

Reid Park Zoo euthanizes 21-year-old mandrill 'DJ'

TUCSON - "DJ," a 21-year-old mandrill born at the Reid Park Zoo, was euthanized Monday due to his rapidly deteriorating health.

DJ had a history of health concerns related to diabetes, arthritis, and valley fever, according to zoo officials. Over the past several weeks, he lost interest in food, developed a cough, and stopped responding to medications. Zoo staff members made the decision to euthanize him when it was clear that he would no longer have a reasonable quality of life.

"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."

DJ was trained to participate in his own care by allowing keepers to monitor his blood sugar and deliver insulin and other medications to him, zoo officials state.

Mandrills, an endangered species native to Western Africa, are most known for their bright blue red faces and their hairless red rumps. There is one mandrill still at the Reid Park Zoo, named "Cere."

Photo courtesy Reid Park Zoo.

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