'Tallou' a baboon born at Limassol Zoo in 1982 died recently, leaving behind her sister, 'Avgousta' born on the same day. Avgousta is the last remaining baboon at the zoo, and the last remnant of the Zoo's old selection of animals, prior to its closure for renovation in 2010 and its subsequent opening in 2012.
"Tallou's death has saddened all staff members who had cared for her all these years. Her absence is difficult for us, but even more so for her beloved sister, who was her life companion," said Dr Lambros Lambrou, Limassol Zoo Director.
The two baboons had spent their whole life in captivity at the zoo, in conditions that had taken a toll on their constitution.
Following the recent upgrade of the zoo, the enclosure space for the two baboons had somewhat improved, which Zoo carers believe had a positive impact on their behaviour. As a result, the Zoo Director had decided not to relocate the two baboons following the renovation, as had been done with other larger animals such as the lions and leopards in order to secure a better life for them.
"With the upgrade of their living space we observed a reduction in aggressive behaviour towards their carers and each other, and an improvement in the communication between them.
"These animals would clean each other and cooperate to open a toy box with food inside. Tallou's confinement syndrome behaviour was alleviated, but Avgousta's less so," said Dr Lambrou.
Following the death of Tallou, Zoo officials have decided to relocate her sister to a specialised space for primates abroad. "She must have contact with other animals of her species. If she stays with us she will go through huge stress and depression on account of being alone, and may die as a result," he explained.
Limassol Zoo has contacted specialised primate care units in Europe and Israel to facilitate Avgousta's immediate move.