Brainy baboons take over Wildlife Park

PIC SHARON DOORBAR / ACQUIRE IMAGES 07973 340201..''YORKSHIRE WILDLIFE PARK....'SEE COPY....TM MEDIA  07710 740468 (MARK)'BABOON TRAINING..
PIC SHARON DOORBAR / ACQUIRE IMAGES 07973 340201..''YORKSHIRE WILDLIFE PARK....'SEE COPY....TM MEDIA 07710 740468 (MARK)'BABOON TRAINING..

There is some real monkey business going on at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park!

Because if you go down to the woods today, you really will be surprised when you come face to face with the real king of the swingers.

Visitors to the award-winning visitor attraction at Branton are going ape for talented baboon Romulus who has been wowing young and old alike by joining in brain-training games at his enclosure.

When you’re the alpha male of the troop, you have to be a quick learner.

And Romulus is proving sharp-witted as he gets to grips with a playful training aid at the park.

The talented baboon and the rest of his troop have astounded staff by their speed at mastering rope-activated games that allow them to play with visitors and get a treat reward.

In one puzzle they get a monkey nut and grape if they start a tug of war with a visitor.

In the other, the visitor releases a treat onto a spinning wheel and the baboon has to work out how to get the food by turning the wheel.

“Romulus and the others picked it up straight away,” said YWP’s Cheryl Williams.

“He loves playing around and being the centre of attention. Baboons are very curious and intelligent and are used to complex solution solving in the wild, especially to get food.

“This enrichment really creates a stimulating environment for them.”

Romulus is part of a 17-strong troop of Guinea baboons who have moved into a state-of-the-art reserve in full view of children playing in the YWP’s new weather proof giant play area.

“It is fantastic to watch the kids interact with the baboons and see how they react to them,” added Rick Newton, primate team leader at the park.

“The play house’s glass panels let the children get really close for a unique experience.”

Romulus and his family arrived at Easter after falling out with the main troop at Edinburgh Zoo and becoming isolated. Guinea baboons are a species listed for urgent protection to ensure numbers don’t die out.

“We are delighted to have them with us,” added Cheryl. “They are part of our mission to preserve species and the public just love them.”