Zoo Atlanta baby returns home to serve as ambassador


Zoo Atlanta welcomes a new ambassador for an endangered species back to his birthplace. Enwe, a 15-year-old male drill, arrived in Atlanta from the Detroit Zoo and has recently begun exploring his new habitat in the Zoo’s Monkeys of Makokou complex. Zoo Atlanta is now the only accredited zoological organization in the U.S. to house this species.

Born July 21, 2002, to female Inge and the late Adonis at Zoo Atlanta, Enwe traveled to Detroit Zoo in 2008. Drills are highly social primates, and Enwe will join one of two drill groups living at Zoo Atlanta. These groups include Enwe’s mother, Inge; females Achi, Amaka and Drew; and male Bobby.

“We are excited to see Enwe’s story has come full-circle since he was born here at Zoo Atlanta. His arrival also gives us an opportunity to tell another story about a species that is greatly in need of conservation action and awareness,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Vice President of Animal Divisions. “The drill is a model example of a species that’s directly impacted by choices we make in our daily lives. That’s an important connection for our members and guests to be able to make.”

A distinctive large monkey species related to baboons, drills are among Africa’s most endangered primates. They now occupy a global range that, at 35,000 square kilometers, is smaller than the size of Switzerland. Their survival depends on large, undisturbed swaths of rainforest habitat, a significant amount of which has been destroyed for illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture. Additional threats include poaching for the bushmeat trade.

Drills were considered to be on the brink of extinction in the 1980s, but conservation efforts are underway to rescue individuals and bolster Africa’s remaining drill populations. The Pandrillus Foundation’s Drill Ranch is one of three 2018-2019 efforts supported by Zoo Atlanta’s Quarters for Conservation initiative, which donates 25 cents of every general admission ticket to projects for wildlife. Thanks to rescue and rehabilitation efforts and managed breeding programs, the Drill Ranch is now home to more than 500 drills, with a goal of releasing animals back into the wild. The program also assists the surrounding community by providing livelihoods, training and healthcare for local people.

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As Enwe is still acclimating to his new environment, there is not yet a guarantee of seeing him. Visit zooatlanta.org to learn more about drills or to plan a visit. 

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