Doodle and his brother Fox have just cleared their final quarantine exam! In the coming days they will be relocated to our Main Primate enclosures where they will begin the next phase of their journey to being release back into the wild.
Their next phase in the rehabilitation process involves being integrated into one of our existing baboon troops. This involves slowly introducing Doodle and Fox to specific troop members in a controlled environment so they can form bonds with their new family members. It's also so they learn more social behaviors such as the baboon hierarchy structure, this will help them to fit in with this troop. In the wild, baboons are born into their ranks and having actual mothers and siblings helps develop this social behaviour and understanding, however what we deal with, are the baboons that are without mothers or troops. They will all come in with different histories, past traumas, and at different ages - we have to try and form a well-functioning troop with no actual blood-lines, in addition to a foreign nurturing environment.
This process can take many months but its vital that it's done correctly so that this troop with thrive upon release time. If bonds aren't properly formed, or if there is a continuous level of stress, we risk our baboons absconding from the troop at release time - which highly impacts their survivability in wild.
Fortunately for these two, their foster-mother (Kezi), is actually the most dominant female from her troop. So once these guys are integrated, they have the potential of growing into a high rank due to their foster-mothers rank. There's little research done on the effects of a foster-mothers rank to their orphans however from our experience @lilongwewildlife there is a reason to believe the link exists.
Note: when I say from our experience - I mean from the rehab-queen's experience - @almavandorenmalen .