Drill by Bernard Dupontso


The Drill is a species of primate, from the old world family and is found in Africa. It was previously thought to be a baboon, but is merely a close relation. Its closest relation is the Mandrill. It has a short tail, and has a body around 70cm long. It looks like a mandrill, but does not have the bright blue and red it its face that the Mandrill does. Males weigh up to 20kg, while females weigh up to 12.5kg

The body is a dark grey-brown; Mature males have a pink lower lip and white chin on a dark grey to black face with raised ridges on the nose, while the rump is pink, mauve and blue. Female drills lack the pink chin.

Two subspecies of drill have been proposed, though not fully accepted.

  • Mainland drillMandrillus leucophaeus leucophaeus While the current range of this species is not fully known, it is all found between Southern Congo and Eastern Nigeria. the range is not continuous, with this population broken into at least 11 different areas, largely cut off from each other.
  • Bioko drillMandrillus leucophaeus poensis While a population estimate is hard to assertain, 4500 drill carcasses have hit the bushmeat trade on the is land in just the last 13 years. The island has around 1 third 779 square miles officially protected (it appears that this is largely a paper park). 
The total population is thought to number only 5000-8000 – the IUCN red list claims that just 4000 remain. Due to the remote area in which this species lives, accurate figures are expensive to ascertain, and as such estimates are very vague. The problem is, that if we take these figures at face value, we have 12 subpopulations, with little or no genetic exchange between them. While the Bioko population is a recognized subspecies, if there is no genetic difference in the 11 mainland populations, then humans need to be translocating members regularly, in order to retain genetic diversity. This species sounds like it needs much help. To view the page on the closely related Mandrill click here

Below is a documentary on this species. Below that is our usual list of any articles written on the subject (if any). Below this, we will endevour to add links and contacts that will help in your travel to see these monkeys

See Animals Wild