Baby Baboon Joins a Big Family
December 09, 2018
Oakland Zoo is celebrating its newest addition to the Hamadryas Baboon troop, which is now three generations strong. Adult female Mocha gave birth to a baby boy, named Mousa, on November 3. Mousa is Mocha’s first baby and she is proving to be a great mom. Mocha’s parents, Maya and Martijn, are still part of the troop, which now includes 17 members.
Like most Baboon mothers, Mocha brought her baby outdoors when he was just one day old. In the close-knit troop, the other members 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 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) 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 the SSP to maintain and increase genetic diversity within the troop.
Read more and se additional photos of Mousa below.
Maintaining a large naturalistic and interactive habitat contributes to the overall well-being of the Baboon troop. By providing this enriching environment, along with excellent animal care, the Baboons are more likely to produce offspring which mimics troop structure in the wild. Eleven baby Baboons have been born at the zoo since April 2013.
Hamadryas Baboons have complex social structures within their troops. One adult male will mate with several females to make up a “harem.” He will breed exclusively with these females and in exchange will protect the females and their offspring. The females within the group work together to raise their babies.
Found in Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, Hamadryas Baboons gather in large groups for sleeping. During the day, they break into small family groups to feed on leaves, fruits, and insects. In ancient times, Hamadryas Baboons were worshipped by Egyptians as the incarnation of their god Thoth, who is often depicted with the head of a Baboon.