Hamadryas baboons are diurnal and spend most of their time on the ground. They group themselves in a few different ways to help them survive in their harsh environment. The smallest social unit, called a harem, contains one adult male, one or more “follower” males, and up to 9 adult females with their young. The males are in charge of herding, which directs the group and keeps the females from straying or being approached by other males. Two to three harems combine to form clans, and several clans—made up of two to four clans—make up a band. A band searches for food together. At night, the bands link up to form groups of about 100 individuals. They all bed down together at the same cliff site because sleeping spots are rare, and by linking together, they are better protected from predators.
Hamadryas baboons are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of foods, including grass, roots, tubers, nuts, insects, eggs, and small birds and mammals. They change their tastes depending on what is easiest to get at a given time.
When a female baboon is ready to mate, her rump swells, signaling to the male that she’s in estrus. Usually, a baboon mother gives birth to one baby in the late spring or early wintertime. By about 5 years old, the females are full grown; males take an extra two years to reach adult size. A hamadryas baboon can live for around 38 years in a zoo.
Some of My Neighbors
Cheetah, serval, leopard, hippopotamus, reedbuck, aardvark, East African oryx, ostrich, carmine bee-eaters
Population Status & Threats
The hamadryas baboon is threatened by habitat loss and hunting. In Ethiopia, home to the most hamadryas baboons, irrigation projects have led to habitat destruction and conflicts with people.
WCS Conservation Efforts in Hamadryas Baboon Range
The Great Rift Valley, a vast crack in the Earth’s crust extending from the Red Sea to Mozambique, is thought to harbor half of Africa’s plant and animal species. WCS works from the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, through the Albertine Rift of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo, to the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi to safeguard the wildlife and the watershed.