Baboons in Uganda

Baboons are among the primates Uganda host. Baboons are mostly found in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park- on the way to Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Busitema area along Kampala- Busia road. Of all the primates, baboons are most frequently interacts with people.

Apart from humans, baboons are the most adaptable of the ground-dwelling primates and live in a wide variety of habitats. Intelligent and crafty, they can be agricultural pests, so they are treated as vermin rather than wildlife. The olive baboon and the yellow baboon are the most common in East Africa.

Baboons usually wake up from their sleeping places around 7 am or 8 am, after coming down from the cliffs or trees, adults sit in small groups grooming each other while the juveniles play. They then form a cohesive unit that moves off in a column of two or three, walking until they begin feeding. Fanning out, they feed as they move along, often traveling five or six miles a day. They forage for about three hours in the morning, rest during the heat of the day and then forage again in the afternoon before returning to their sleeping places by about 6 p.m. Before retiring, they spend more time in mutual grooming, a key way of forming bonds among individuals as well as keeping the baboons clean and free of external parasites.

Baboons, move, sleep and socialize together in groups of about 50 members. These family units of females, juveniles and infants form the stable core of a troop, with a ranking system that elevates certain females as leaders. A troop’s home range is well-defined but does not appear to have territorial borders. It often overlaps with the range of other baboons, but the troops seem to avoid meeting one another.
At the mature stage, males leave their natal troops and move in and out of other troops. Frequent fights break out to determine dominance over access to females or meat.

The ranking of these males constantly changes during this period. Males are accepted into new troops slowly, usually by developing “friendships” with different females around the edge of a troop. They often help to defend a female and her offspring.

Baboons feed on grass to make up a large part of their diet, along with berries, seeds, pods, blossoms, leaves, roots, bark and sap from a variety of plants. Uganda Baboons also eat insects, small pieces of meat, fish, shellfish, hares, birds, vervet monkeys and young, small antelopes.