(Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)
BRONX– A baby gelada has made its public debut at the Bronx Zoo– the only zoo in the U.S. breeding geladas and is one of only two that exhibit the species.
The baby was born on August 30. 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 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.”
Geladas are primates that are endemic to Ethiopia. They are sometimes called “gelada baboons” or “bleeding heart baboons” for the characteristic red patch of skin on their chests, but 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 a graminivores, and 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 will communicate to each other through a wide range of vocalizations, facial gestures and body postures.
The zoo’s Baboon Reserve, where the geladas have called home since 1990, is representative of the natural habitat of the geladas’ native Ethiopian highlands. The exhibit also includes Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), a species of long-horned mountain goat that is adapted to steep mountainous habitats, and rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), a small, terrestrial mammal that lives among boulders, rock crevices and cliffs.
To plan your trip, visit bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.