The little male was born on March 6 to eleven-year-old mum, Jimma, and 14-year-old dad, Ebano. According to keepers, this is the sixth Gelada to be born at the Zoo since 2014.
Senior Keeper, Jodie Dryden, said, “This is Jimma’s second baby, so she’s already an experienced mum and the newborn looks to be thriving!”
Photo Credits: Dudley Zoological Gardens
The new little boy has been given the name “Jinka.” The name is inspired by a market town in southern Ethiopia – the native homeland of the species. Keeper, Stephanie Ballard, was the first to find the newborn and gave the infant the moniker.
Section Leader, Jodie Dryden, shared, “We let Stephanie choose his name as it was her first ever zoo baby discovery, so he’s extra special!”
“And Jinka’s perfect, as it’s also a town near Jimma, which is his mum’s name. She’s still keeping a close hold of Jinka at the moment, but the other youngsters are beginning to get more inquisitive around him, although it won’t be long until he’s also gamboling around the bank with them all.”
The troop at Dudley is part of a European Endangered Species Programme. Prior to the latest birth, they had four juvenile boys: Billie, Ambo, Gimbi and Dendi, as well as Kadida, their only little girl. Ebano is father to all of the juveniles in the troop.
Jimma is joined by fellow adult females: Tana and Addis (who also both have two offspring each).
Gestation for Gelada’s is usually around six months. Mothers will carry the baby on their stomach for the first few weeks before transferring it to their back. The youngster will begin to gain more independence around five-months-old.
The Gelada (Theropithecus gelada), sometimes called the bleeding-heart monkey or the gelada baboon, is a species found in the Ethiopian Highlands. It is largely terrestrial, spending much of its time foraging in grasslands.
A baby Gelada has made its public debut at the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. that breeds the Gelada and is one of only two that exhibit the species.
The newest baby was born on August 30, and at only four weeks old, the infant is still clinging to mom and drawing a lot of attention from the rest of the family unit. Altogether, the group is made up of one adult male, three adult females, two juveniles, and the new baby.
“This is an exciting time with a lot of interesting dynamics and activity, with an infant and two juvenile Geladas in our troop in the Zoo’s Baboon Reserve,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President, Bronx Zoo Director, and General Director of WCS’s Zoos and Aquarium. “Being able to watch the social interactions within the group allows visitors to better understand how Gelada live in their family units and behave during the various developmental stages. It is an inspiring sight that transports you to the East African highlands.”
Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS
The Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) is a primate that is endemic to Ethiopia. They are sometimes called “Gelada Baboons” or “Bleeding Heart Baboons” for the characteristic red patch of skin on their chests, but they are more closely related to Mangabeys.
The female’s red patch becomes more pronounced during the mating season to attract males. The males have a beautiful flowing cape of long hair on their backs that resembles a shawl.
Geladas are “graminivores” (herbivorous animal that feeds on grass). They are unique among primates in that they feed primarily on grasses. Adult males have prominent canines that they use to display to other competing males, and they communicate to each other through a wide range of vocalizations, facial gestures, and body postures.
In 2008, the IUCN classified the Gelada as “Least Concern”, although their population had reduced from an estimated 440,000 in the 1970s to around 200,000 in 2008. Major threats to the Gelada are: reduction of their range as a result of agricultural expansion and shooting as crop pests.