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Zoo Buddy: This animal has cheek pouches; what animal is it?

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’re back at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo with some hungry baboons! While we were filming, the zookeepers fed them a mix of popcorn, apples, oranges, and carrots.

“These are olive baboons they’re from Africa, they’re found in the grasslands, and they can be found up in trees for safety and rock cliffs to sleep in and stuff,” says Zookeeper Jeanne Baumann. “We have - this is what’s called a large troop, it’s got George, he’s a dominant male and he has three females with him and there’s a chain of command, they all fall in the chain of command.”

“I would say these baboons like to eat a lot of bananas and grapes and apples and stuff like that are probably their favorite,” says Lisa Taylor, General Curator at the zoo. “Jeanne gave them some popcorn today you can see that in the video, these guys are very efficient eaters, in the wild they actually get the most nutrients out of all the food that they forage for, and [they’re] very good for the ecosystem because they are actually responsible for re-seeding at least 7 different tree species in Africa.”

And they have storage pouches in their cheeks for maximum snacking!

“It looks like it’s limitless, like they can just keep putting and putting, sometimes when I’m walking by and checking on them I’ll see them chewing when I know that they have already eaten everything,” says Baumann. “They probably snack on it throughout the day, later in the afternoon, but yea they store it like squirrels right here.”

You can visit these guys near the butterfly garden at the zoo.

The zoo has their big fundraiser, Zoobilation, coming up June 26th. They’ll have games, animal encounters, food trucks, and more.

The boat ride, train ride, and reptile building are all back open, and the zoo is open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call them at (318) 329-2400 for more information.

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