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Melb zoo gets NZ baboons for breeding

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/09/2016 Rachel Gray

Six female baboons from New Zealand have joined the troop at Melbourne Zoo amid hopes they will soon breed more babies like Juju.

Juju, at just 18 months, is the only baby in the troop and the offspring of the two dominant baboons there, mother Haddo and father Jabari.

Zookeeper Bianca Papadopoulos says the six females from NZ, four of breeding age, were slowly introduced to their new troop but have now all successfully integrated.

The first four came last December, the other two, arrived in July.

"After a quarantine period of four weeks, they then went through a brief induction period of between two to four weeks," Ms Papadopoulos told AAP.

Melbourne Zoo hopes to increase their baboon population from 21 to around 45 over the next 10 years after building the bigger Baboon Lookout five years ago.

The Baboon Lookout gives visitors a sense of connection to the active group's social relationships said to be based on a hierarchical scale .

Jabari became the alpha male of the baboon troop at Melbourne Zoo after the dominant male passed away in June this year.

The arrival of the females is part of a Regional Breeding Program that allows zoos across New Zealand and Australia to transport baboons between facilities to keep their populations under control.

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