oa African Zoology - Ecology of baboons (Papio ursinus) at Cape Point

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Observations on habitat, movements, population structure and recruitment of a troop of 85 free-ranging chacma baboons, Papio ursinus, were made in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, South Africa. The 3 700 ha minimum home-range for the troop, containing nine sleeping cliffs, included an intensively used area of 45 ha around a favoured sleeping cliff. The troop showed no clear environmental preferences, but occupied Acacia cyclops thickets and Upland Mixed Fynbos more frequently than expected from the spatial distribution of these vegetation types in the home-range. The baboons' diet included 95% vegetable matter (grass, seeds, fruit, leaves). Invertebrates (ants, grasshoppers, marine shellfish) were also taken. Daily distance (3-14 km) covered by the troop while foraging was greatest in summer. Female baboons had menstrual cycles and copulated throughout the year. The calculated reproductive rate (12%) was roughly 80% of those reported for congeners elsewhere.

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