Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Blond Baby Hamadryas Baboon!

The birth of a baby hamadryas baboon ten days ago was a joyous occasion for Scud and her male, Shapira, at the Safari Park in Ramat Gan, Israel. The arrival of the baby was extra special because she was born with a genetic mutation that made her fur blond (golden yellow). I have cautioned myself by not referring to the color of her fur as "ginger" or red. Instead, I describe it as blond-haired.

The baby carries within her a mutated gene that was passed down by her mother and can be traced back to her great grandparents. In the 1950s, the Yemenites went to Israel and brought with them their pets which were albino hamadryas baboon. These albino baboons late became part of the collection at the old Tel Aviv Zoo. Because of these albino individuals, the recessive gene are being passed down from one generation to another resulting in periodic births of albino and blond-haired offspring. It has been 20 years since a blond-haired baby was born in Safari Park. The baby hamadryas baboon has yet to be named but they totally should name her Barbie. Hah!

Somewhere around the 0:34 mark in the second video, Ms. Terkel (Safari Park curator) mumbled about how the Yemenites came to Israel with their flying carpets. What was she smoking? Also, she kept saying "gingy". Who says that! Anyway ... enjoy the videos below.

There are two videos, click on 1 and 2 to change them.

Normally, a baby hamadryas baboon is born with black fur. As they mature, the black fur will slowly turn into a grayish silver (males) and grayish brown (females) coloration.

EDIT: ZooBorns covered the story of this baby baboon as well. Click here to go to their site (they have photos of the baby).


Anonymous said...

The curator was right in stating "flying carpet". It refers to the migration of Yemenite Jews to Israel in 1949/50, tagged Operation Magic Carpet.

Raymond Vagell said...

Aha! Thanks for the clarification. It makes much more sense now.