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Simien Mountains, Gelada baboons


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The Bleeding Heart Local name: Chilada
The gelada is an Old World monkey, not a baboon despite previous naming conventions. It is the only living member of the once widespread genus Theropithecus and is only found in the highlands of Ethiopia. The present day distribution of the gelada is limited to the steep escarpments and gorges that border the eastern side of the central highlands and the northwestern highlands of Ethiopia. The gelada feeds predominantly on fresh shoots of grass, and to a lesser extent on grass roots and seeds. The gelada is also called the bleeding heart baboon as a result of the distinctive, bright red, heart-shaped patch on its chest. The gelada social system consists of a hierarchy of social groupings. The basic group is a reproductive unit of the breeding males (1-4) and females (1-10) and their dependent young.

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Simien Mountains, Gelada baboons

  1. 1.
  2. 2. The gelada (Theropithecus gelada), sometimes called the gelada baboon, is a species of Old World monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands, with large populations in the Semien Mountains. Theropithecus is derived from the Greek root words for "beast- ape.” Like its close relatives the baboons (genus Papio), it is largely terrestrial, spending much of its time foraging in grasslands. Theropithecus gelada is the only living species of its genus. Geladas are found only in the high grassland of the deep gorges of the central Ethiopian plateau.
  3. 3. Simien Mountains National Park is one of the national parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Semien (North) Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, its territory covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia. wild iris
  4. 4. Simien Mountains National Park was one of the first sites to be made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1978) wild iris
  5. 5. Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
  6. 6. The gelada is the sole survivor of the genus Theropithecus, which formerly included several extinct species which were widespread and successful, found over much of Africa and into India
  7. 7. Gelada monkeys live only in the high mountain meadows of Ethiopia - an environment very unlike those of their forest - or savanna-dwelling primate relatives. This high- altitude homeland is replete with steep, rocky cliffs, to which geladas have adapted. At night, the animals drop over precipice edges to sleep huddled together on ledges.
  8. 8. These baboon-size animals are the world's most terrestrial primates—except for humans. As grass-eaters, they are the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once numerous.
  9. 9. Geladas spend most of their day sitting down, plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity.
  10. 10. Theropithecus gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females. Though males are larger and more colorful, females dominate gelada societies.
  11. 11. When an aging male begins to decline, the females in his family decide when he will be replaced by a younger rival— though the male will do all he can do to drive off such
  12. 12. Gelada family units often combine to form large foraging bands of 30 to 350 animals. When food is abundant as many as 670 geladas have been seen together.
  13. 13. About 100,000 to 200,000 gelada monkeys survive, but even their remote mountain locales are feeling the effects of encroaching agriculture that threatens the grasslands. Indigenous peoples also hunt gelada and use their impressive manes in traditional coming-of-age ceremonies.
  14. 14. Gelada baboons live in groups of one male with several females and their offspring. These groups are called one male units, or OMUs. Associated OMUs may travel in the same area making up a second level of organization called the band. OMUs have been known to travel amidst several different bands at different times or even alone, so membership within a band is not permanent.
  15. 15. Geladas are not territorial and it is not uncommon to find congregations of separate bands grazing together wherever conditions are favorable. Outside of these social organizations are groups consisting entirely of males, or AMUs
  16. 16. Grooming is exhibited by all members of an OMU. Grooming between the females and their male and is very important to the social stability of the group. When OMUs grow beyond capacity, the male is unable to give grooming attention to all the females.
  17. 17. When this happens, unity within the group is lost, leaving numbers of females unattended and able to form new groups with males from roaming AMUs
  18. 18. The females within an OMU are generally the true leaders of the group. If an outside male attempts to take over the group by supplanting the male using physical force, the females may choose to support or oppose either male. Regardless of who wins the fight between the two males, the females can chase the unwanted male from the group with their own show of physical force. Since only the male associated with the OMU is in a position to mate, the females have indirect control over male reproductive success
  19. 19. Primates typically have complex social communication involving visual, tactical and acoustic symbols. Sometimes, chemical cues are also used.
  20. 20. Geladas use visual signals, such as facial expression and body posture, to communicate with one another.
  21. 21. There are also visual signals associated with estrus, such as the reddening of the chest patch in females.
  22. 22. Copulation is usually initiated by the female and occurs between the estrus females of a group and the group's male leader
  23. 23. Gelada baboons do not have a specific mating season, though it has been noted that the birth rate is higher during the rainy season.
  24. 24. The estrus cycles of females within a group are fairly synchronized, as are births. This may be due to social influence
  25. 25. Gestation length in gelada baboons is estimated at 5 to 6 months. Females generally give birth to one infant at a time and females with infants are anestrus. Lactation lasts for about 12 to 18 months.
  26. 26. Females reach sexual maturity at about 4 or 5 years of age, but males do not become sexually mature until 5 or 7 years.
  27. 27. As in other primates, parental care is primarily the responsibility of females. Females must carry, groom, nurse and protect their offspring until the young are independent. The role of males in the care of offspring is not well understood.
  28. 28. Gelada baboons are exclusively herbivorous, but their choice of food changes depending on seasonal availability. During the wet season (July and August), when green grass blades are abundant, they make up 93% of the diet of these baboons. In November, when the grasses have seeded, the seeds make up 70% of their diet. During the dry season (January and February), 67% of their food is grass rhizomes and 25% grass blades. Geladas are also known to harvest fruits, tubers, and flowers and stems throughout the year.
  29. 29. The Gelada is not in fact peculiar to the Semyen as is the exclusive Walia Ibex, but they are more numerous here than in their other habitats. But in the Semyen there may be as many as 20,000, and troops of 400 together may be seen. They do not molest humans and, more surprisingly, the local people do not molest them. Thus they are very tame and will allow humans to approach quite close to the troop before moving nearer to the cliff edge.
  30. 30. Sound: Yodit Worku and Abebech Derara - Saw Befiqer Tammo Text: Internet Pictures: Sanda Foişoreanu Sanda Negruţiu Jean Moldovan Daniel Scrãdeanu Alin Samochis Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foi oreanuş