Uganda Safari Chapter Baboons in Uganda

Uganda is home to several primates and on any given safari here you can't miss setting your eyes on at least one or two primates, Uganda boasts of several primates like the Black-and-white colobus monkey, red colobus monkey, the Ugandan red-tailed monkey and blue monkey, Golden monkey, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboon, Patas monkey, L’hoest monkey, Chimpanzee and the famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Mountain Gorilla. Well today in our blog post we take you on a journey to discover something about Ugandan Baboons

Baboons are primates that comprise of the genus Papio, one of the 23 genera of the World of Monkeys. The common names of the five species of baboons are the hamadryas, the Guinea (also called the western and the red), the chacma baboons, the olive and the yellow both types are "dog faced," but the yellow's nose turns up more than the olive's

Here are some interesting facts about Baboons

  • The olive baboon is the only type found in Uganda, they mostly live in open woodland bordered by savanna, areas like Murchison Falls National Park, Semuliki Forest, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park being the hosts for these primates. Baboons mostly require a water source and a safe sleeping space in either tall trees or on cliff faces. When water is readily available, baboons drink every day or two, but they can survive for long periods by licking dew from their fur.

  • Baboons move together in groups of upto 50, consisting of seven to eight males and approximately twice as many females plus their young ones. They form a troop, that has certain females as leaders.

  • When they mature, the males leave their natal troops and move in and out of other troops. Frequent fights occur to determine dominance over access to females or meat. The ranking of these males constantly changes during this period. Males are accepted into new troops slowly, usually by developing "friendships" with different females around the edge of a troop. They often help to defend a female and her offspring.

  • Baboons are omnivorous animals and also selective eaters that choose their food carefully and their common sources of food are insects, fish, shellfish, hares, birds, vervet monkeys, and small antelopes. Their principal predators are human beings, leopards, cheetahs.

  • Just below the tail, on the rump area are horny epidermal callosities. With females in oestrus, the callosities swell up substantially and serve as clear signal to the males of their breeding condition. The dominant males herd and mate with the females in oestrus. The Alpha male does most of the mating.

  • Young males that have no dominant ranking within the troop have no mating rights. Mature females in most cases won’t give them the opportunity to mate unless the social bond between two is very strong. This type of mating is not tolerated by the dominant males and could prove very dangerous for the young male if caught in the act. After a successful copulation from one male or a number of different males, the female then goes through a 6 month gestation period and gives birth to a single offspring. Females can give birth at any time of the year. Caring for the Young for the first month, an infant baboon stays in very close contact with its mother. The mother carries the infant next to her stomach as she travels, holding it with one hand. By the time the young baboon is 5 to 6 weeks old it can ride on her back, hanging on by all four limbs; in a few months it rides jockey style, sitting upright. Between 4 and 6 months the young baboon begins to spend most of its time with other baboons of its age.

  • Baboons use over 30 vocalizations ranging from grunts to barks to screams to communicate. Baboons are the friendliest known monkey towards humans, Baboons are best known for their bright behinds and are generally found in more forested areas.Baboons grow from 0.5 to 1.2m depending on the species, but weigh only around 30kg

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Angella Mwanja

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