Guinea baboons are Old World baboons with large bodies and defined sexual dimorphism, expressed by long canines. This species is otherwise called the 'Red baboon' due to the red color pattern of its fur. The Guinea baboon is distinguished by its considerably long molars and broad incisors. The front and hind limbs are almost the same length. The digits on all of their feet are short and stout. Hence, these primates are unable to climb. Guinea baboons have a social system, where males protect females and young.
Guinea baboons have a rather small natural range in western equatorial Africa, including certain parts of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mauretania and Mali. These primates are allopatric animals, which means that they live in isolated populations that don't interbreed. However, where their territories overlap, Guinea baboons usually do interbreed. Preferred habitat of these baboons is woodland savanna, although they occur in a variety of forest and savanna habitats throughout their range. They are also known to live in open terrains such as grasslands and rainforests. During the dry season, large concentrations of these animals can be found around constant sources of water. During the wet season, they typically live in smaller groups.
Guinea baboons are generally terrestrial animals, although they are also known to be accomplished climbers. They lead diurnal lifestyle. Guinea baboons are quadrupedal creatures. Like Hamadryas baboons, they have a multi-leveled social system. Their groups are called one male units (OMUs) and typically contain a single mature male, sub-adult males as well as multiple females and young. In order to reduce predation, these groups may occasionally unite into larger aggregations. The leading male of the group don't aggressively herd the community. Instead, it guides the group through corralling, shaking and jumping. Additionally, it will run in order to speed up the movement and will prance when changing the direction. Guinea baboons sleep in large trees, where each group has a single branch to sleep on. These primates sleep at night and look for food during the daytime hours in smaller sub-groups. When foraging, these sub-groups cannot see each other and thus communicate through specific calls.
Guinea baboons may exhibit both polygynous (one male mates with multiple females) and polygynandrous (promiscuous) (both males and females have multiple mates) mating systems. The mating system and habits of this species are unknown, although most baboon species breed year-round. Females give birth at an interval of 423 days, after a gestation period of 184 days. Females give birth to a single infant, which is nursed until about 6 – 8 months old. Female Guinea baboons become reproductively mature at 4.3 years of age.
The population of Guinea baboons outside the Niokolo-Koba National Park has suffered from continuous decline as a result of agricultural development, deforestation as well as hunting for food (in Guinea) and for crop destruction. Additionally, in former times, those in Senegal were exported for laboratory use.
According to IUCN, the Guinea baboon is common in many parts of its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List.
Due to their habit of digging, Guinea baboons largely contribute to soil aeration throughout their range. Meanwhile, their diet allows them to act as important seed dispersers of certain fruits and grains. Additionally, Guinea baboons control population numbers of animals they consume. Moreover, they, in turn, are a key prey species for many local predators.