Wild Fact #135 – Ringing In the New Year with Friends – Chacma Baboon

Photo by D. Gordon and E. Robertson

Photo by D. Gordon and E. Robertson

Did You Know?

  • The Chacma Baboon is an Old World Monkey, which is often referred to as the Cape Baboon
  • This particular monkey is actually one of the largest on the planet
  • The Cape Baboon is mostly found hanging out in a wide variety of habitats scattered across southern Africa
  • There are two things the Chacma Baboon never wanders too far from – Trees and a good source of water

A Social Setting

Like other baboons the Chacma Baboon is a social animal as they can typically be found living in larger groups comprised of several adult males, females and their offspring. I guess this particular baboon enjoys a close knit family life. Occasionally this family group will even be tighter as there have been reports of very small groups being formed that are only comprised of a single adult male and a few females – sounds like the party group. Unfortunately, every group has their problems and the Chacma Baboon is no exception. The amount of infanticide in these social circles is quite high (higher than other baboon species) as dominant males will often kill the offspring of a previous leader. Not only is this cruel but it does show that humans aren’t the only animal species capable of murder.

Chacma Baboon

Photo from Wikimedia

Up For Adoption

After reading about the infanticide, you may be thinking that the Cape Baboon is nothing more than a savage beast, however, they do have a capacity for love. In fact, these very same animals are known to adopt orphaned baboons. If a young baboon has lost its mother and are too small to care for themselves, more often than not they will be adopted into another troop. Once inside this new home, the younger baboons (roughly 4 or 5 years old) will begin taking care of the young baboon by protecting, feeding and grooming them. Both males and females will take part in raising the young orphan.

Forging Friendships

Interestingly enough, the Cape Baboon is also capable of forming friendships with other members of the troop. Usually, this friendship is between a lactating female and a male. Now this isn’t your typical friendship where you go play in the park or build a fort (do kids still build forts?). Nope, instead this is a friendship where the male will stay with the female to help protect her baby from infanticide while the female simply provides company for the male (we are not sure what benefits the males receive from this companionship). At the end of the day, it is always important to have friends, whether you are a human or a Chacma Baboon.

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