A baby baboon that had a rough start in life has made her on-exhibit debut at Melbourne Zoo in Australia.
Known as Juju the infant baboon was born on May 24th to a first time mother. This marked the first baboon born at Melbourne Zoo since 2000 meaning that mother, Huddo who has never had a baby had also never seen how one was cared for.
As a result she mis-mothered the infant and keepers had to step in to save the baby. They didn’t want to keep the baby separate for ever though so also worked on developing a relationship between mother and daughter.
For his first weeks of life Juju was kept in a humidicrib and received food every three hours. Keepers also kept a watchful eye over her 24 hours a day.
Keeper Bianca Papadopoulos said, “Once she was in a stable state, we moved her back into a playpen near the baboon troop, so she had the 24-hour access she needed to become familiar with Huddo and the other members.”
“Then we moved her into one of the night dens where she had contact with the adults through the mesh.”
Once he was familiar with them he was ready to return to the care of the baboons as Papadopoulos explained, “The next step, when she was about nine weeks old, was to form a sub-troop with Huddo and two other females so we could introduce Juju to them.”
This integration came full circle today as she went on exhibit riding out on the back of one of her ‘aunties.’
“We are still giving Juju five bottle feeds a day, beginning at 7am and finishing at 5:30pm, because she now sleeps through the night like the other baboons, clinging to her mother,” added Papadopoulos.
The father of Juju is one of two new males imported in 2012 from the United States to add new blood to the zoo’s colony.
Photo Credit: Melbourne Zoo