Summit Up 9-9-11: Happier than a red-nosed baboon that it’s Friday |

Summit Up 9-9-11: Happier than a red-nosed baboon that it’s Friday

Summit Up
Photo by Kaileen Higney

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that sometimes wonders about the creator of the universe. We’re looking here at a picture of Rafiki, who is a 14-year-old male mandrill who just touched down at the Denver Zoo.


SU: A mandrill. What, you never saw The Lion King? In the film, there’s a mandrill named Rafiki, which is the seer-like baboon-ish thing that holds the baby Simba up for all the prideland to see at the beginning of the movie. It’s an amazing scene, very powerful, very emotional. We wept … copiously.

MSUR: Oh, right, yeah, sure, we remember, of course.

SU: Anyway, chances are if you’re a mandrill born into captivity (or, we guess, captured into captivity) any time after 1994 (when The Lion King was released), you were in danger of being named Rafiki. Not that that’s a bad name for a mandrill, of course. What are you going to call a critter like this, Spot? Herman? Lord Chesterfield? Boy George?

No matter the name, you’ve gotta admit this is one goofy-looking critter. He looks like the kind of monkey a kid would design if he was, say, a futuristic kid and he was at some robotic Build-A-Bear Workshop kinda place where you could order yourself a robotic monkey.

But that’s neither here nor there. The main point is that Rafiki is at the Denver Zoo, fresh off the boat from the Toronto Zoo, and you should go say hello to him.

If you dare. He looks like a killer!

Actually, he’s more of a lover than a fighter. According to the news release, he’s being paired with two females: Sabu and Tuki, as part of the “Species Survival Plan” to ensure genetic diversity among zoo animals.

Menage à mandrill! Lucky Rafiki! And guys, there’s a line you can try out at the Gold Pan some Saturday night: “Hey baby, wanna help me ensure a little genetic diversity?”

See how far that gets ya.


Folks, again it’s a weekend chock-full of cool stuff to do. Check out all the Fall For the Arts events, the BeetleFest, the classical music, the not-so-classical music and whatever else strikes your fancy. Just tell ’em Summit Up sent ya for a complimentary blank look.

We out, looking under the coach for our Lion King videotape.

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