We have a troop of 12 baboons that have resided here at Seneca Park Zoo since 2008. I have helped take care of these baboons for more than 5 years and as many of you know, the years tend to blur together after a while. So, when a visitor recently asked me how old some of our baboons were, I realized I didn’t remember their exact ages anymore! Have you ever wondered how old the baboons were?
Luckily, as part of our jobs, we keep medical records and protocols on all of our animals here at the Zoo, so finding the information I was looking for was pretty easy! There are 7 female baboons in our troop. Pimiento is the oldest at 22 years of age. She is easily identified because she has a very stocky build and always is sticking her tongue out!
Is 22 years old for a baboon? Pimiento would be considered just over middle aged, as a baboon’s life expectancy is mid 20s. The next oldest is Ursala at age 18 and then Pearl at 16. Our large alpha male of the troop, Mansino, is now 11 years old. He became the alpha male very early on due to lack of competition, at about 5 or 6 years of age. In the wild, males between the ages of 6 and 8 would begin to challenge each other for the alpha position and the rights to the females.
The other half of the troop are of similar ages. There are three females and two males that are all 8 years old. Three of these 8 year olds are the offspring of the three elder females mentioned earlier.
Lastly, some of you may remember three babies being born in 2011. Olivella, Samson and Pico de Limon are now 4 and a half. They are the offspring of the three 8 year old females and the alpha male, Mansino.
Watching the baboons grow up has been very rewarding to me. Their personalities are all unique and continue to develop every day. Their social structure is constantly affected and ever-changing as every single baboon ages. It is amazing how quickly the time has gone, watching the babies turn into juveniles and juveniles into adults with babies of their own. I’m sure everyone can relate to that!
–Jenna Bovee, Zoo Keeper