[URBAN NOTE] “The female has spoken: queen takes baboon throne at Toronto Zoo”
CBC shared Liam Casey’s Canadian Press report about the vicious fighting for power in the Toronto Zoo’s baboon population following the death of the troop’s matriarch.
A brutal battle for the throne of a baboon troop at the Toronto Zoo that erupted when the matriarch died became so vicious that staff intervened with hormone treatments to take “a little bit of an edge off” the fighting females.
Medical records show that while the intervention in March of last year helped reduce the number of vicious attacks and resulting injuries, it also helped an unlikely female to emerge as queen in the baboons’ game of thrones.
The fighting — first reported by The Canadian Press in late 2015 — began shortly after the troop’s leader, 16-year-old Betty, was euthanized.
Baboon troops are run by females, and their behaviour dictates that the matriarch’s oldest daughter become queen. But zoo staff have said Betty’s oldest daughter, Molly, was still too young to assert her dominance when her mother died in December 2014.
Putsie, the troop’s eldest female, saw an opportunity to grab the throne with support from her three daughters, Kate, Kristina and Kalamata.