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Video: Chacma Baboons

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Kariega Game Reserve is situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and incorporates five diverse ecosystems. These range from evergreen forest to rugged mountain and dry savannah and make it an ideal home for chacma baboons. This video captures the day to day antics of one of the baboon troops at Kariega, provides an informative narrative on the species and displays the natural splendor of our region.

Family Structure of Chacma Baboons

Chacma baboons live in troops of varied sizes from small groups of eight to ten all the way up to 150. The troops consist mainly of females and their young who are lead and protected by the dominant male. Additional males move between troops and form a dominance hierarchy beneath the dominant male. Dominance is established and maintained by fighting, chasing and baring their canine teeth in displays of aggression. The hierarchy will influence the males access to food and mates. Baboons may change troops several times in their lives in an attempt to improve their status within the troop.

Chacma Baboon Facts

  • Chacma baboons can live for up to 30 years. 
  • An adult baboon can be as large as 120cm and weight as much as 40kg. 
  • Female chacma baboons reach adulthood at five years old and males a little later at around six or seven years old. 
  • Chacma baboons are omnivores, but feed predominantly on fruit, nuts and vegetation, supplementing their diet with the meat of small animals and insects when they can find it.
  • A female chacma baboon will give birth once every two years after a gestation period of six months. 
  • Chacma baboons are attentive parents. The mother does most of the nurturing and feeding but the fathers are very protective and watch over their young while the mother forages.
  • At times, when the succession of a dominant male occurs, infanticide can take place. The new dominant may kill all young offspring within the troop, bringing the lactating mothers back into estrus and then impregnating them with his own offspring. The new dominant males can also induce miscarriages through harassing the pregnant females.

Social Chacma Baboons

Chacma baboons, like all species of baboon, are highly social. Grooming is an important activity that plays a significant role in their social interactions such as courting, gaining acceptance within the troop, protecting the young from infanticide and reducing harassment.

Did you see this troop of chacma baboons on your African safari? Tell us about your experience in the comments below or post your pictures and comments on our Kariega Facebook page.