New Baby Baboon Kicks Off Third Generation at Oakland Zoo

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Newborn male ‘Mousa’ has quite the extended family, including parents, grandparents, cousins and more – a happy addition to the second largest Hamadryas baboon troop at an AZA-accredited U.S. Zoo.

Baby Baboon Newborn, Mousa, Photo Credit: Steven Gotz

Oakland Zoo is celebrating its newest addition to the Hamadryas baboon troop, now three generations strong. Mocha’s (mother) baby boy, Mousa, was born on the night of November 3rd. Mousa is Mocha’s first baby and she is proving to be a great first-time mom. Mocha was the first born to now grandparents, Maya and Martijn, making Mousa the first third-generation offspring of the troop.

After the birth, Mocha (like many of the mothers in the past) brought her baby outside by the next day. As a close-knit troop, the grandmothers have shown continuous support and have kept an eye on Mocha and the new baby.

“Initially, Mousa’s aunts and uncles were especially interested in Mousa and formed an entourage going everywhere that they went, never more than a foot or two away and often much closer. At almost three weeks old, Mousa is doing great,“said Andrea Dougall, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.‍

Mousa’s father, Kusa, was brought to Oakland Zoo to begin his own harem with the offspring of Martijn. The genetic diversity that came with Kusa’s arrival strengthens the populations of Hamadryas baboons at AZA-accredited U.S. zoos. Oakland Zoo’s animal care staff continues to work closely with SSP (Species Survival Plan) to maintain and increase genetic diversity within the troop.

Maintaining an expansive, naturalistic and interactive habitat contributes to the overall well-being of the baboon troop. By providing enrichment and a well-maintained environment, along with continuous excellence in animal care, the baboons are more likely to produce offspring which in turn increases the genetic diversity of the troop. Eleven baby baboons have been born at the zoo since April 2013.

Hamadryas baboons follow complex social structures within their troop. One adult male will mate with several females to make up a “harem”. He will exclusively breed with the females and in exchange will protect the females and the offspring. The females within the group work together to raise the children.

Oakland Zoo’s seventeen baboons can be seen daily by the public from 10:00am - 4:00pm at the Baboon Cliffs Habitat, located down the hill from the African Veldt. The Baboon Cliffs 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 seventeen 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 AND THE CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA:

Oakland Zoo, home to more than 750 native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With over 25 conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.

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Isabella Linares
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