Rehabilitation of a drill monkey

Nicky Mamfe is a female drill that came to the Limbe Wildlife Centre in February of this year. After a three months quarantine period she is now in the proces of being introduced to the other drills. The introduction is going very slowly, because Nicky has a lot of problems.


Nicky was called after Felix Lankester’s wife, who found her tied to a rope in the village of Mamfe. Nicky Lankester persuaded the owner to give up the drill and donate it to the Limbe Wildlife Centre. She had a crate made out of scrap wood and transported the drill to Limbe.

Nicky Mamfe’s spine is damaged and she has problems moving her hind legs in a normal way. On top of that, she completely lacks social skills and is afraid of the other drills. We can only guess what she has been going through, but is has left its marks both fysically and mentally. Nicky is now in a cage next to the drill enclosure and she has company of a few nice females with their young. However, during feeding we have to separate them, because Nicky is too scared to eat in their company. It is clear that this process is going to take a long time, but we will be very patient.

The drill is the most endangered primate species in Africa, with an estimated number of 3000 left in the wild. Nevertheless, hunting pressure is still very high. Drills live in large groups and mostly on the ground, which makes them very vulnerable for hunters. The hunters kill the adults, while the infants are kept alive in order to sell them as pets. Last year we rescued four drills that had been illegally kept in people’s homes.


The Limbe Wildlife Centre is now home to 62 drills. We breed with them, with the aim to do a reintroduction project in the future. As can be seen in the picture, the males are much bigger then the females. When a female is in heat, she attracks the males with a large sexual swelling. The dominant male, to be recognised by his colourfull buttocks and chin, will follow the female around, anywhere she goes, and mate with her regularly.


Hopefully one day Nicky will be a happy member of this group. With the condition of her legs she will never be able to run around like the ohers, but if she gets used to their company she can feel safe again and live a normal drill life.

Best wishes,


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One Comment

  1. Christine C.
    Posted July 27, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Oh, Poor Nicky…I am confident she will become an accepted and happy member of her new group though…as always, thanks for all the amazing work you do!

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