Solid start for Billie

Six-month-old Gelada baboon, Billie, has enjoyed his first taste of solid food.

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Lower Primates Trainee Keeper Jade Reddall caught the moment on camera when Billie, left, grabbed his first piece of carrot.

She said: “It was wonderful – it was the first time we had seen him eat solid food.

“He looked so happy with himself when he picked up the carrot and took it to the tallest tree trunk.

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“His cheeks were so full and it was just brilliant.”

Jade said Billie, pictured right savouring his carrot alone, was still suckling from his mum, Addis, but was also now enjoying a varied diet including leaf-eater pellets and cauliflower leaves.

Billie was named after conservationist and TV presenter Bill Oddie who officially opened the £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.

Billie was the site’s first Gelada baby since DZG opened in 1937 but now has a three-month old half-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.