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Hamadryas Baboon

IUCN: near threatened


* Adult males are larger than the females, and have a long, silvery cape. Females and younger males are brown. Infants are black. Both males and females have a pink face and a bright pink bottom.

* An adult male dominates a group of up to 10 females called his harem. Two or more of these units, with single male followers, make up a clan. Several clans make a band, and several bands together form a troop. At Wellington Zoo we have two harems of baboons.

* Hamadryas baboons live in a very harsh environment, with extremes of both heat and cold. They can travel up to 20km a day in search of food.

* Hamadryas baboons are known as ‘Old World monkeys’ as they come from Africa, as opposed to ‘New World monkeys’ from South America.

* A sheltered sleeping site, often on a cliff face, may be shared by as many as 800 individual monkeys from several troops.

* In baboon society, making eye contact and baring teeth are considered a threat. To threaten in return, they will raise their eyebrows, showing their white eyelid and partially open their mouth, displaying formidable canines.

* The Hamadryas baboon was sacred to the ancient Egyptians, often pictured on temples and monoliths as the attendant or representative of Thoth, the god of letters and scribe of the gods. Baboons were mummified, entombed and associated with sun-worship.

* These animals are very social and are stressed by isolation.

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Taken on October 2, 2009