Friday, July 13, 2018

Cape Chacma Baboon

There are five species of baboon. I've previously blogged on the olive baboon we found in Kenya and Tanzania four years ago. On our recent trip, we saw a different species, the chacma baboon and two of its three subspecies. 
Mother Cape chacma baboon with a baby on her back. 
The chacma baboon is one of the largest of all monkeys. It is one of the longest as well as one of the heaviest. It is generally dark brown to gray and has a patch of rough hair on the nape of the neck, instead of a mane (like the olive baboon). Its most distinctive feature is a long, downward-sloping face. 
The three subspecies of chacma are distinguished by size and color. The Cape chacma, one of those subspecies, is large, heavy, dark-brown and has black feet. It is found in southern South Africa. 
We saw a troop of Cape chacma baboons shortly after leaving the area of the Cape of Good Hope. We learned on our drive down to the Cape of Good Hope that there are baboon handlers that follow the baboons and try to keep them out of residential areas. A website for Human Wildlife Solutions says that they follow 11 troops of baboons from Constantia to the Cape of Good Hope and employ 79 baboon handlers. They are able to keep the troops out of town 99.8% of the time. However, as a 2016 National Geographic article notes, "Is This the End For South Africa's Famed Urban Baboons?" the tactic of removing male baboons may doom the troops. 
We saw baboon handlers twice along our drive, walking along the side of the road. The first time we saw no baboons. However, the second time we saw a troop of baboons cross the road right in front of us and walk up the side of a hill. 

I was thrilled, it was a sighting I was hoping for!

1 comment:

  1. I love the baboons and hadn't realized that we saw more than one species. Especially fun were the baboons with babies on their backs.