ASHEBORO, N.C.-The birth of two hamaydryas baboon babies recently at the North Carolina Zoo adds not only to one of the park's largest species, in terms of numbers, but also to the largest collection of baboons in any zoo in America.

The two new arrivals, both females, increase the zoo's troop of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) to 19--including adults, juveniles and now infants.

Hamadryas baboons are considered Old World monkeys and are characterized by an elongated, doglike muzzle, a short tail and bare calluses on the buttocks.

Unlike apes, they have tails, but their tails are not prehensile, that is, not adapted for grasping or holding objects.

Visitors can daily see first-hand the complex social structure of the zoo's baboon troop, including the shared care of the new babies, in both the indoor and outdoor sections of the 1-acre baboon exhibit in the park's African Pavilion.

The zoo's African violet show will also take place in the African Pavilion daily throughout October. About 1,400 different plants are being exhibited, representing 10-12 species.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.