'It's the circle of life': Disney's Animal Kingdom welcomes adorable newborn mandrill

Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is celebrating the circle of life, Lion King style. 

The theme park has welcomed a baby mandrill into its tribe, a less-than-three-pound girl named Saffron that could almost fit in the palm of your hand, a spokesperson told FOX 35 News.  

Since he birth on July 24, Saffron currently clings to her mom Hazel's side as she nurses in the treetops of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, which is where she can already be seen by guests. This mother-daughter bonding is essential, and is similar to how humans soothe their babies by rocking back and forth, according to Animal Kingdom.  

"The bond between the two has been inseparable, and even Saffron’s sister Ivy has yet to hold her," Disney said in a press release.  

Even though Saffron is about the size of a pint right now, mandrills are the largest species of monkeys in the world – and she can grow up to 25 pounds in the next few years, according to Disney. 

Mandrills – like Rafiki in The Lion King – are known for the vibrant colors on their faces, including blue, red and pink on their faces and yellow manes. No two strands of hair on a mandrill's head are the same, as the coloration and patterns are totally unique. 

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Photo: Aaron Wockenfuss/Walt Disney World

"Similar to her namesake, Saffron will develop her unique and bright coloration once she fully matures in three to four years," Animal Kingdom said. 

Mandrills are a vulnerable species, as only about 4,000 remain in the world – or more specifically, in the wilds of Africa. 


"Saffron’s birth is an example of how we work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to help ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species in managed care to create healthy and genetically diverse populations of animals for years to come," Disney said.