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Paignton Zoo building new baboon home based on 30 years of research

Work on Paignton Zoo’s brand new baboon exhibit has commenced: the zoo’s biggest build project in 15 years.

The new exhibit will incorporate the findings of 30 years of behavioural research into Hamadryas baboons, which has been undertaken by the zoo’s research and keeper teams over the past three decades. Each year, over 450 hours of observations are carried out on the zoo’s troop of baboons, making them some of the most studied primates in Europe.

Dr Holly Farmer, Research Manager at Wild Planet Trust, said:

Our research has given us a detailed insight into how our troop of Hamadryas baboons spend their time and interact with each other meaning we can design a new home that really does meet all of their needs.”

Holly continued: “It’s really exciting that we can actually integrate our research findings into the new exhibit. We’ll continue to study the troop once they’ve moved across to find out how it impacts their behaviour and social dynamics and how they use the new enclosure.”

Baboon Rock is one of the oldest exhibits of Paignton Zoo, with its iconic ‘African savannah’ design resonating with visitors throughout its 50-year history. However, half a century of wear and tear has taken its toll on the area, so the relocation will provide the baboons with an upgraded and purpose-built home that meets all of their needs.

The new baboon exhibit is being built in the old zebra paddock opposite the zoo’s giraffes. This expansive hill-side space will provide them with a large outdoor area and a new indoor home. For the first time in 50 years, visitors will be able to see the troop of baboons inside as well as out. The area will also incorporate a browse plantation to provide food for the zoo’s animals for years to come. The Baboon Rock site has been marked for future major redevelopment.

To keep up to date with the progress of the build, follow Paignton Zoo on Facebook.