Earlier this month, nine members of the Middle Baboon group were selected to join Tinka and Rigby in the Baboon Camp Introduction Enclosure.
Tinka and Rigby have been reluctant to integrate with the rest of the group, so by joining them with these youngsters, the hope is that they will bond to them and have more confidence to enter with the larger group.
Riverside volunteers and staff spent the morning capturing, processing and giving prophylactic medical treatments to Mango, Hobbit, Ginger, Sophia, Hapoel, Eric, Royston, Noam and Joey, and brought them down to meet their new, larger troop members. Tinka and Rigby are 4 years old and the Middle Baboons are between 18 and 27 months.
Both Tinka and Rigby seemed excited and curious about the new arrivals in the beginning, going back and forth between play and taunting behaviour. The youngsters were quite nervous at first, especially the higher ranked ones, who's consistant reign of authority came to an immediate challange, which they lost. After about 2 hours the Middle Baboons became more comfortable exploring the new enclosure and engaging in grooming behaviour with Tinka and play behaviour with Rigby, all under the careful scrutiny of the observing main camp troop.
After the first day and ever since things seem very calm and comfortable in the new group. The heirarchy has changed with Tinka and Rigby still dominant, but former bottom ranking female, Sophia, climbing the ranks, and former third ranked female Ginger claiming the second spot. The perpetual cuddley baby Eric seems to have come into his own, showing a bit more strut and swaggar than in the previous arrangement, as is Noam, who has always been the smallest and a bit of an outsider.
In a few weeks time this group will be let into the main camp with the core group and the remaining Middle Baboons (Bonnie, Sunshine, Logan, Shiloh, Marley and Brostow) will take their place in the introduction enclosure.