Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 21:43 UK

Baboon baby boom at animal park

Guinea baboons at Port Lympne. Photo by Dave Rolfe
The baboon originates from the Old World monkey family in Africa

Rare baboons have given birth as part of a breeding programme at a wild animal park in Kent.

Two baby Guinea baboons have already been born at Port Lympne and another five were expected "imminently".

The first group of the "near threatened" species, the smallest of the baboons, was brought to the park five years ago.

A spokesman for Port Lympne said they were "delighted " their baboon breeding programme had led to a baby boom.

The 25 Guinea baboons living at the park were transferred to a new enclosure with more activities in 2008.

Simon Jeffery, head of the zoo's primate section, said: "They are very active during the day and their bright colour and unusual appearance enthrals visitors to the park."

Babies ride hanging from the mother's stomach for up to three months and then prefer to sit or lie on her back.

The guinea baboon originates from the Old World monkey family in western Africa.

It has reddish brown hair and a bright red or pink rear, and has a hairless "dog-like" face with sharp canine teeth, surrounded by a small mane.

In the wild, the guinea baboon sleeps in trees at night, and lives off insects, roots, fruits and small mammals.

At Port Lympne they eat greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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