CHACMA BABOON – Papio cynocephalus ursinus

SIZE: Length (including tail) (m) 1,5 m, (f) 1,2 m, mass (m) 32 kg, (f) 16 kg.
COLOUR: Dark yellowish brown, sometimes greyish. They have a pale chest with dark hair along crown and spine. There is a wide variation in colour between individuals. Pink patches are found around the female’s rump which become scarlet and swollen when she is in season.
POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 45 years
GESTATION PERIOD: 6 – 7 months
MOST LIKE: The Yellow Baboon in the northeast of the subcontinent, but the chacma’s dark colouring is distinctive.
HABITAT:Rocky country, savanna and mountainous areas. Nearby water is essential.

Chacma baboons are omnivorous, feeding primarily on fruit and leaves. They usually roam in the veld for grass, insects, roots and eggs, returning to resting areas during the late afternoon. Female baboons produce one infant at a time and the newborn chacma can cling to the mother soon after birth. There is no fixed mating season, and chacmas are full-grown within eight years.

Chacma Baboons are gregarious and can live in very large troops. They have a well-developed social structure, led by a dominant male, with individual females having a very definite ‘pecking order’ within the troop. The number of adult males in troops can vary from a solitary individual in the smaller troops to up to 12 in some of the very large ones.

DISTRIBUTION

Dominant males lead the troops and direct their movements, with subordinate males traveling towards the rear. Low-ranking females are located on the perimeter of the troop. High ranking females, which are more likely to have infants, are likely to be found towards the centre of the group. When there is danger nearby, the male will let out a bark which sends the rest of the troop to safety.

Their primary enemy is the leopard: when one is spotted they let off hysterical shrieks and barks, which often causes the leopard to flee. They have a very powerful build with large canines, which can be used in vicious fights, which sometimes end in death. The older males can become very bad-tempered. The troop leaders’ dominance is drilled into the rest of the troop from an early age, and if they become disobedient they are likely to receive a swift cuff.

WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:

BOTSWANA
• Chobe National Park
• Linyanti Swamp
• Makgadikgadi Pan
• Mashatu Game Reserve
• Okavango Delta
• Moremi Game Reserve
• Savuti

NAMIBIA
• Caprivi Region
• Damaraland
• Etosha National Park
• Namib-Naukluft Park
SOUTH AFRICA
• Addo Elephant National Park
• Cape Peninsula National Park
• Hluhluwe Game Reserves
• Kalahari Gemsbok Park
• Knysna Lagoon
• Kruger National Park
• Madikwe National Park
• St Lucia Wetlands
ZAMBIA
• Kafue
• Lechwe Plains
• Lower Zambezi
• South Luangwa
• Mosi-oa-Tunya Park

ZIMBABWE
• Gona-re-Zhou
• Hwange
• Lake Kariba
• Mana Pools
• Matobo Hills
• Victoria Falls

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