Happy 1st Birthday, Billie!

Little Gelada baboon Billie had a ball on his first birthday – after Keepers came up with some exciting party games for the special occasion.

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Keepers added coloured balls, different shaped hay baskets and tubs filled with treats to celebrate the gorgeous creature’s special day.

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ABOVE: Birthday boy Billie. He stayed back with mum before getting a little more adventurous

Lower Primates Keeper Jade Reddall said: “Billie did play with a few of the balls but was a little shy at first and stayed on mum Addis’s back for a while.

“All the baboons were wary because it was something so new but after a time they did begin to investigate.

“Billie’s dad Ebano got the most leaf eater pellets out of the tubs because he was definitely the bravest!”

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webbillie4Billie also had a wonderful handmade birthday card, shown right, from DZG member Sarah Holt.

The young baboon was named after conservationist and TV presenter Bill Oddie (pictured left) who officially opened our £20,000 half-acre natural hillside Baboons on the Bank exhibit last August.

The presenter is also Billie’s adoptive ‘Dad’ after being given an adoption pack for the baby baboon during his visit.

Birthday boy Billie was the site’s first Gelada baby since DZG opened in 1937 but now has an eight-month-old baby brother, Ambo.    

The species, which includes a breeding group and a bachelor unit, was introduced to DZG in 2013.

The breeding group is made up of Billie, Ambo and Addis plus females, Jimma and Tana and alpha male, Ebano.

The bachelor group contains five males – Simiya, Semelo, Sanjo, Jima and Jilo.

Many Happy Returns on your 1st Birthday Billie, from everyone at DZG!