New Baby Welcomed by Baboon Troop, Grows to Sixteen at Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo
September 27, 2017

New Baby Welcomed by Baboon Troop

Oakland Zoo has one of the largest Hamadryas baboon troops in a U.S. Zoo

Oakland, CA—Oakland Zoo announces the arrival of a new baby baboon, Kito, a male born the morning of September 2, 2017. This marks the eighth baboon birth in four years, bringing the troop’s total to sixteen and officially one of the largest baboon troops at a U.S. Zoo. Oakland Zoo's animal care team has cultivated this successful baboon care program through positive reinforcement training and enrichment, in addition to a large and naturalistic habitat, which has in turn encouraged much natural and social group behavior in the large troop.

Krista (age 21) and Martijn (age 16 and the troop’s leader) are parents to baby Kito. This is their fourth baby together, and they are once again proving themselves great parents to their growing family. Kito is adjusting wonderfully to his surroundings and is integrating very well with his older siblings. Mom, Krista, is keeping a close eye on him as older siblings are very curious about their little brother - zookeepers say they are showering him with affection and desperate to play with him.

Media Advisory

On Thursday, September 28 from 10AM to 11:00AM, media photo and video opportunities of baby Kito are available. A zookeeper will also be available for interviews during this time. If you plan on attending, please arrive at 9:45am at the Zoo’s Lower Entrance Ticket Booth area and contact Erin Harrison, or 510-746-7120 or 415-601-1619.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), of which Oakland Zoo is accredited by, has issued breeding recommendations for this troop of baboons as their specific genetic lines are very valuable. ZooKeepers continue to work closely with the SSP (Species Survival Plan) to increase genetic diversity in the Zoo population of Hamadryas baboons.

“We are happy that Oakland Zoo has helped the genetic diversity of Hamadryas baboons in the U.S. Martijn and Krista came to Oakland Zoo years ago from Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands as recommended by the Species Survival Plan to increase diversity in the US population. Our troop has been thriving here and their expanding family is a great testament to that,” said Andrea Dougall, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

Hamadryas baboons live in complex social structures. An adult male will have several females in his “harem” which he will protect in exchange for exclusive breeding rights. The females will develop relationships as well and assist each other with child rearing. While the males are not as involved as the females in rearing the infants, they are good fathers who will protect their offspring and as they get older they will sometimes play with them or otherwise allow them to join in their activities.

Oakland Zoo’s baboons can be seen daily by the public 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 8,100 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 sixteen 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 80 pounds (females weigh generally weigh around 40 pounds and males weigh 75-80 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, Somalia, 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 850+ 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. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 50¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in June 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. 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. For more information, go to:


Contact: Erin Harrison, (510) 746-7120,