Dec 13, 2007

GELADA BABOONS

"Ethiopia is a country that holds many unique treasures, but few are as impressive and as entertaining to witness than its indigenous baboon, which looks like a cross between a lion and a poodle!"

I spent every day for three weeks sitting on a barren exposed plateau high in the Ethiopian mountains, often completely surrounded by as many as 400 of these baboons. Luckily, they are the most peaceful and least aggressive of all the baboons and to me the most spectacular. They are the gelada baboons of Ethiopia and they are found nowhere else in the world. Their main home is in the beautiful and rugged Simen Mountains, an area of ancient volcanoes in northern Ethiopia. Despite years of drought and war, there are some areas, that due to their remoteness, have remained havens for these rare and unique baboons.

Geladas used to be found all across Africa. But being a non-aggressive primate that does not climb trees well and spends most of its time shuffling around on its bottom, meant that they fell victim to man's continual search for easy food. Today most the geladas live within Simen Mountain National Park that was established as Ethiopia's first National Park in 1969. Lets hope Ethiopia continues to have the foresight to protect their unique heritage in this wonderful baboon.


by Linda Waddell


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