To us at Riverside, every animal who makes it to reintroduction is a success, but here are featured some memorable Riverside residents over the years, who overcame unbeatable odds, to find a place within a stable troop of their peers.
Rocky arrived in December of 2011 as an infant. He had sustained severe injuries to both left and right wrists from a bullet that went through his mother and both of his arms. These injuries should have been permanently crippling, but baboons are resiliant, and if they are young enough they can normally overcome physical disadvantges. He went through surgeries and several months of physical therapy, and spent that time confined to bandages.
In October, 2013, he was introduced into the main, semi-wild baboon enclosure with the adult troop, along with eleven of his peers. He was the first baboon to explore the new surroundings, showing extrordinary confidence. He did back flips, he jumped out of the highest trees, and pushed his physical limits, showing no signs that he at one stage could very well have been an amputee or euthanised due to his injuries.
Noam arrived at Riverside in the Fall of 2013 with a severe injury to his leg. It was reported that it was a gunshot wound, but upon further inspection it was determined to be a severe bite, likely from a dog. The bite shredded all ligaments, tendons and muscle in his left hind leg. This should have been a no-brainer amputation but Bob has extensive experience in re-attaching nerves and muscle tissue and decided to give Noam a chance to regain use of his leg. Bob created a custom cast for young Noam to allow for some mobility.
By November of 2013 you would never know Noam was injured in the first place (other than the short hair on one leg from shaving around the wound). He jumps and runs and climbs with the best of them, and will soon be ready to join the adult troop.
Peter arrived at Riverside after 6 years in captivity at a zoo. His longevity in captivity made his future uncertain. Baboons may become more humanized or mentally/ emotionally unstable the longer they are alone in captivity, rendering them unble to join a peer group and therefore become unreleasable.
Peter delightfully surprised everyone by not only fitting into the troop perfectly, but taking over as the perfect Alpha male. He now has 3 offspring and a few on the way. He is a cautious and firm Alpha, not allowing troop members to interact with humans or the unfamiliar by chasing them away or sounding an alarm call, but also gentle, often lipsmacking and caressing the younger members of the troop, and his young children.