The first gelada (Theropithecus gelada) born in the U.S. in more than 13 years is making its debut at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. that exhibits geladas.
“This is an exciting birth for the Bronx Zoo and our visitors,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS’s Zoos and Aquarium. “To watch the young gelada race around the hillside, jumping and interacting with the adults is an experience not to be missed. It is an inspiring sight that transports you to the East African highlands.”
The young male gelada was born in the fall. He has been bonding with its mother, Fayola, over the winter and can now be seen in the Baboon Reserve in the zoo’s Africa Plains. Weighing a mere 460 grams at birth, he will grow to be approximately 65 pounds as an adult.
The times the baby gelada is visible to the public will vary day-by-day depending on weather, temperature, and other environmental factors.
Geladas are a species of old world monkey. They are sometimes called “gelada baboons” or “bleeding heart baboons” for the characteristic red patch of skin on their chests. The red patch becomes more pronounced in females 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 and gestures.
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 within cliffs.
As part of the 120th anniversary of WCS, geladas are #64 in the 120 Ways #NYisWild city-wide social media safari. Participants can register and share their photos of the new baby gelada at NYisWild.com and win one of many prizes including a trip to Belize.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 p.m. weekends from April to October; 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m November to March. Adult admission is $19.95, children (3-12 years old) $12.95, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $17.95. Parking is $15 for cars and $18 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.