Press Release: 04/16/2013

Baby Baboon Born at Oakland Zoo

Contact:
Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR
(510) 632-9525 x130
nmora@oaklandzoo.org

Oakland, CA April 16, 2013

Oakland Zoo is pleased to announce a new troop of hamadryas baboons has successfully been introduced and settled into the Baboon Cliffs exhibit. Upon arrival, the troop of baboons was made up of four: one male named Martijn, and three females named Maya, Maud, and Krista. However, the total count of baboon residents has now increased by one, due to the arrival of a baboon infant. Oakland Zoo has not had a baboon birth in more than twenty years. There are now a total of two troops, with ten baboons visible to guests.

"We are proud and excited to be contributing to the future of the hamadryas species. This new infant, as recommended by AZA, will help revitalize the genetics of hamadryas baboons in the U.S.," said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager.

Martijn, the newest troop leader, Maya, Maud, and Krista range in age from eight years old to twelve years old. They relocated to Oakland from the Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands. The international move was facilitated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which Oakland Zoo is accredited by and follows breeding recommendations. The newest addition to the troop, born on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, belongs to Martijn and Maya. The weight, sex, and name of the baby are still unknown at this time, but average newborn hamadryas' weigh around 600-900g. Due to the dynamics of this troop, Zookeepers are only observing at this time and are allowing nature to take its course so as not to bring any stress among the troop(s) during this very special time. Baby baboons are fairly altricial, meaning the mother will hold on to the infant for the first few days while it builds its strength up. As of now, the infant is only with the birth mother, but as it gets bigger and stronger, other members of Martijn's troop will start to hold and play with the baby.

Currently, the hamadryas baboon population in the United States is in need of new bloodlines for breeding; therefore, breeding concerns necessitated the importation of this troop to Oakland. According to Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager, this new group of baboons and their offspring are critical to revitalizing the genetics of hamadryas baboons in the U.S.

"We are very excited to be playing such an important role in the conservation of this species," stated Rousser.

Oakland Zoo's two troops of baboons enjoy eating fruits, vegetables, greens, and special insect treats like walking sticks. Zookeepers provide enrichment throughout the Baboon Cliffs exhibit for the animals to find and enjoy. Puzzle feeders, a form of enrichment, are contraptions the animals can play with and also be rewarded by treats inside. According to zookeepers, the new male, Martijn has taking a particular liking to round shaped puzzle feeders that are filled with a variety of treats such as bananas, lettuce, and carrots.

The two troops of baboons, including the newborn, can be seen by the public daily from 10:00am - 4:00pm at the Baboon Cliffs exhibit, located down the hill from the African Veldt. The Baboon Cliffs Exhibit opened in the fall of 2009 and is approximately 81,000 square feet in size. It includes a cascading waterfall, climbing structures, a spacious area for the baboons to roam, a night house facility, and offices for Zoo staff. Guests are able to observe all ten of the baboons from a large viewing deck.

About Hamadryas Baboons:
A group of baboons is often referred to as a troop. They are generally 24 - 30 inches in length and can weigh up to 40 pounds. Hamadryas baboons eat vegetables, protein-rich insects, and some red meat. They have an active lifestyle and live to be around 30 - 40 years of age. Hamadryas Baboons in the wild are found in Ethiopia, Somolia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. In the wild, baboons congregate in very large groups to sleep at night. During the day, they separate into smaller groups to forage for food. Throughout history, hamadryas baboons were worshipped by Egyptians as the incarnation of their God, Thoth, who is often depicted with the head of a baboon.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.


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