Essex zoo celebrates baby baboon first

ZOOKEEPERS in Colchester are celebrating after two baby Gelada baboons became the first to be born in captivity in the UK.It is still too early to say if the babies, which were born at the tourist attraction on Christmas Eve and November 20 last year, are boys or girls.

ZOOKEEPERS in Colchester are celebrating after two baby Gelada baboons became the first to be born in captivity in the UK.

It is still too early to say if the babies, which were born at the tourist attraction on Christmas Eve and November 20 last year, are boys or girls.

Non-endangered Gelada baboons, which normally live in groups of up to 600 in the high mountains of Ethiopia, are classified as lower risk on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's threatened list.

Now numbering nine, the group at Colchester came to the zoo as part of a European zoo-breeding programme in 2002.


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A spokeswoman for the zoo said: "The handsome Gelada baboons are specialised grass-eaters and are so adjusted to life on the ground that they cannot climb trees."

Craig Redmond, campaigns officer at CAPS (Captive Animals' Protection Society), said: "Gelada baboons are social animals who normally sleep at night on rocky cliffs in Ethiopia - how does this compare to life in a zoo in Colchester?

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"The introduction of more animals to a life of captivity is something that should sadden us - it is not something to celebrate."

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