Two Hamadryas Baboons were born just 19 days apart at the Oakland Zoo. The babies, a male and a female, are half-siblings and share the same father but have different mothers.
Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo
The female baboon, who was born on March 14, is named “Kabili,” which means honest and brave in Swahili. The male baby was born on April 1 and has not yet been named.
The Oakland Zoo has two troops of baboons, and keepers report that the youngsters are being well-received by other group members. Senior Keeper Adrienne Mrsny said, “The siblings are very curious about the new babies and with the mothers’ permissions will look at the babies, often trying to groom or play with them. Kabili is living up to her name (Swahili for brave) by following her much older sisters in climbing and walking around to explore the exhibit. The baby male spends much of his time gazing at the world around him as he holds onto his mom; he took his first steps during his second day on exhibit.”
Hamadryas baboons live in complex social groups. 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.
Hamadryas baboons are native to 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. In ancient times, Hamadryas baboons were worshipped by Egyptians as the incarnation of the god Thoth, who is often depicted with the head of a baboon.