The Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) is a member of the Old World monkey family. It is one of the largest of all monkeys. Located primarily in southern Africa, the chacma baboon has a wide variety of social behaviors, including a dominance hierarchy, collective foraging, adoption of young by females, and friendship pairings. In general, the species is not threatened, but hunting, trapping, and accidents kill or remove many baboons from the wild, thereby reducing their numbers and disrupting their social structure.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Zoochory animals are those that can disperse plant seeds in several ways. Seeds can be transported on the outside of vertebrate animals (mostly mam...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Chacma baboon is perhaps the longest species of monkey and it is also one of the heaviest. Adult males can in some instances be about twice as long and three times as heavy as adult females. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this baboon is its long, downward-sloping face. The Chacma baboon is generally dark brown to gray in color, with a patch of rough hair on the nape of its neck. Unlike the males of northern baboon species (Guinea, hamadryas, and Olive baboons), Chacma males do not have a mane. The three subspecies are differentiated by size and color. The Cape chacma is a large, heavy, dark-brown, and has black feet. The Gray-footed chacma is slightly smaller than the Cape chacma, lighter in color and build, and has gray feet. The Ruacana chacma generally appears to be a smaller, less darkly colored version of the Cape chacma.
Chacma baboons are found throughout southern Africa, ranging from South Africa north to Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique. They live in diverse habitats from woodlands to savannas, steppes, and sub-deserts. Chacma baboons are found in the Kalahari Desert as well as on the alpine slopes of the Drakensberg. They usually sleep on hills, cliffs, or large trees and during the day, avoid arid areas with a lack of water.
Chacma baboons are diurnal, spending most of the day on the ground. They are highly sociable animals, living in troops, which consist of 20-80 individuals. The troops include males as well as females with their young. Members of a troop are in close ties with each other, sleeping, feeding, and grooming together. During the day the groups split into smaller subgroups, consisting of 4-5 females with their young and a dominant male, who leads the group and defends it from other males. They are always on the alert, living in troops for protection and watching for predators. When threatened, the baboons give out loud barks. Then the males run to attack while the females and young hide in a safe place among the trees. Chacma baboons communicate by vocalizations, using about 30 different sounds such as grunting, barking, or screaming. They also use gestures such as shoulder shrugs, yawns, or lip-smacking.
Chacma baboons are omnivores, feeding upon various species of both plant matter and animals. They consume grass, flowers, leaves, crowns of some trees such as Cypress tree, seeds such as ones of Acacia nigrens, roots, tree gums, water lilies, tubers, corms, and rhizomes. Their usual diet also includes fruits such as figs or Kigelia pinnata fruit. In addition, they eat eggs, insects, and small vertebrates.
Chacma baboons have polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system. The dominant male of a subgroup competes with other males for mating rights, though females of baboons mate with a number of males during their lives. They breed at any time of the year. The gestation period lasts about six months, yielding a single baby. The newborn infant clings onto its mother’s breast, grabs onto her fur and later rides on her back. The baby is weaned at the age of 8-12 months. By this time, females keep on living within the troop while males usually join another troop. Males become reproductively mature at 5 years old whereas females are mature at 3 years old.
The major threats to the Chacma baboon population include hunting and involvement of the species in laboratory research. These primates are shot as vermin due to raiding crops, damaging pine plantations, and preying on livestock. When obtaining food from humans, some baboons can be very aggressive and are frequently killed as "problem animals". Because they live near and invade human habitats, baboons are also regularly poisoned, electrocuted, beaten, run over, and captured for the pet industry, and muti (medicine).
According to the IUCN Red List, the Chacma baboon is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.
Chacma baboons form an important link in the food web of their habitat. Thus, they obtain nutrients from plants and animals they feed upon. Then they become prey species for predators of the area, making the nutrients available to these animals. Chacma baboons dig for roots, tubers, corms and rhizomes, helping to aerate the soil of the area. In addition, it's quite possible that they disperse seeds of plant species they consume.