Mass Hysteria Baboons Emmen


What happened to the hamadryas baboons in Emmen Zoo, is anyone's guess. The large group of hysterical monkeys is already a couple of days upset. "They have eaten a little more this Wednesday morning, but afterwards all of them hurried into the trees and high up the rock," says biologist Wijbren Landman of the zoo in Emmen.

Since Monday the 112 baboons sit in groups in the bare trees and on the rock in their area in zoo. "As soon as they hear a strange sound, they react very anxious," says Landman. "We now have extra food placed near the rock and trees, in the hope that they will eat more."

Monday it took almost an hour to get the animals in their night shelter while otherwise it takes a few minutes at most. Also while sleeping the baboons crawl together. The zoo speaks about mass hysteria among the monkeys.

Normally the animals always make a lot of noise, they possess a deafening scream. Now they are virtually silent. 'Probably the alpha males are some kind of shocked, and now that affects the entire colony. "

The biologist does not exclude that the monkeys are startled by a predator, or a visitor dressed in clothes with a predator print. "A researcher let us know that he encountered a situation like this in the wild, where the hamadryas baboons were also for days hysterical after seeing an enemy," says Landman.

Only hamadryas baboons

In 1994, 1997 and 2007 a similar situation with the baboons occurred in Emmen. The caretakers never found out what was going on then.

"Other zoos have never experienced anything with their baboons and also in the literature there is nothing to find," says the biologist. Hamadryas baboons can become thirty years old, so some of these stressed baboons may have experienced the situations in 1994, 1997 and 2007.

This behavior is never found within other groups of animals. The neighbors of the baboons in Emmen are doing fine. "The elephants, kangaroos and lemurs behave normally."

The zoo hopes that the strange behavior, as previous times, just takes about a week. But as long as they do not know the cause of the behavior, the zoo can not take action."

Concerned people

The hysterical baboons not attract more visitors to the zoo, but there are a lot of concerned people. The zoo was the last days flooded with dozens of emails and phone calls with possible answers to this mystery, says biologist Landman. "Some suggest that there has been an earthquake or that there is a threat of some natural disaster, others suspect a snake escaped," says Landman.

He received also an email from someone who said he could remotely cure the baboons. Also an animal interpreter and a psychic have already offered their help, but so far the Emmen zoo didn’t respond to these helping hands.