Animal Name: Chacma Baboon
Scientific Name: Papio ursinus
The Chacma baboon, also known as the Cape baboon, is, like all other baboons, from the monkey family. It is one of the largest of all monkeys.
Located primarily in southern Africa, the Chacma baboon has a wide variety of social behaviours, including a dominance hierarchy, collective foraging, adoption of young by females, and friendship pairings. These behaviours form part of a complex evolutionary ecology.
In general, the species is not threatened, but human population pressure has increased contact between humans and baboons. Hunting, accidents and trapping kill or remove many baboons from the wild. This has reduced baboon numbers and disrupted their social structure.
The Chacma baboon inhabits a wide array of habitats including woodland, savanna, steppes, and sub desert, from the grassy alpine slopes of the Drakensberg to the Kalahari Desert. During the night the Chacma baboon needs hills, cliffs, or large trees in which to sleep. During the day water availability may limit its range in arid areas.
Distribution: It is found in southern Africa, ranging from South Africa north to Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique. The subspecies are divided across this range. The Cape Chacma is found in southern South Africa; the Gray-footed Chacma, is present from northern South Africa, through the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique (south of the Zambezi), to southwest Zambia; and the Ruacana Chacma is found in northern Namibia and southern Angola.
Diet: The Chacma baboon is omnivorous with a preference for fruits, while also eating insects, seeds, grass and smaller vertebrate animals. It is generally a scavenger when it comes to game meat, and rarely engages in hunting large animals. One incident of a Chacma baboon killing a human infant has been reported, but the event is so rare, the locals believed it was due to witchcraft. Normally, Chacma baboons will flee at the approach of humans, though this is changing due to the easy availability of food near human dwellings.