Drill keeping in zoos – the current situation

Most people who know about drill monkey will have met them in a zoo. The chances for this are not too good though, there are only 18 drill keeping zoo worldwide – nearly all of them in Europa. Germany is offering the best chance for it with five zoos (Munich, Hanover, Osnabruck, Wuppertal and Saarbrucken).


The 16 European zoos reached a smaller milestone in 2019 when the number of kept species reached 100. At the end of the year an exact number of 103 drills was reached – a positive development considering that the number of 50 animals was not reached before 2005.


The current tendency goes to keeping drills together with other species such a forest buffalos in Osnabruck, brazza monkeys in Hanover or pygmy hippos and sitatunga in Valencia. Also it is tried to keep several males together in one group.


What is so special about working with drills? The best people to evaluate it are the zoo keepers who deal with them in their daily life. They are especially impressed by the character of the animals. Herbert Harder of Zoo Wuppertal considers the work with them as challenging as you need lots of empathy and diplomacy to gain the trust of the animals, which forces you to keep learning constantly. Also Kathrin Paulsen of Zoo Hanover uses a similar description when she says that all drills have an individual character, which has to be considered as well as their relationship and friendships – with the special challenge that their relations can change during the course of the time.


Maybe gain a personal impression about it when you have a chance to visit a drill keeping zoo nearby.


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