A baby baboon recently born at the Ramat Gan safari — the first in two years — became a focus of contention Wednesday when his true parentage had to be kept secret for fear of upsetting the sterilized alpha male of the troop.
Sting, the dominant baboon, automatically assumed he was the father when Sigal, a 6-year-old female baboon, gave birth. He began taking care of Sigal, sitting by her side and protecting her.
However, the baby’s real father is Shapira, a less dominant male who was able to mate with Sigal behind Sting’s back.
Sting was sterilized several years ago when the safari staff decided to control the baboon population in the enclosure. Although Sigal belongs to his harem, she is not one of the dominant females in it.
Sigal must protect her newborn from the more dominant females, who are liable to claim him as their own. Because their alpha male is sterilized, they cannot bear young themselves.
A statement from the safari said staff members were searching for a name for the newborn.