International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 397–413 | Cite as

Distribution and Habitat Associations of Baboons (Papio hamadryas) in Central Eritrea

  • D. ZinnerEmail author
  • F. Peláez
  • F. Torkler


At least three diurnal primate taxa are still present in Eritrea, NE Africa: hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas), olive baboons (Papio h. anubis) and grivet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops aethiops). However, information on status and distribution of primates and their habitats in Eritrea is outdated and incomplete. We conducted a primate survey, focussing on hamadryas baboons, to obtain data which will be integrated in a national wildlife management and conservation plan in Eritrea. We obtained information about the geographical distribution and abundance of baboons, their altitudinal range, habitat quality of their home-ranges, aggregation sizes at sleeping cliffs and predator presence. We described habitat quality via the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a vegetation classification of Landsat MSS satellite data. Hamadryas and olive baboons are still present in Eritrea in ample numbers. Their geographical distributions in 1997 and 1998 did not deviate significantly from their historical distributions. An estimated 15,000 Papio hamadryas hamadryas lived in the 25,000-km2 area of survey (0.58 baboons/km2). Population densities of hamadryas baboons in many parts of the survey area are higher than at Kummer's (1968) study site in Ethiopia. Hamadryas baboons live at all altitudes in four of five ecogeographical zones of Eritrea. Olive baboons replaced them in the western lowlands. Both baboon taxa tend to select better quality habitats, characterized by a higher normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) than the average for the respective ecogeographical zones. Hamadryas baboons show a greater ecological plasticity than olive baboons, which are confined to riverbeds with extended gallery forest. By the end of 1999, a hybrid zone could not be confirmed.

Hamadryas baboon Papio hamadryas hamadryas Olive baboon Papio hamadryas anubis Eritrea Distribution Habitat 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deutsches PrimatenzentrumGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Universidad AutónomaMadridSpain
  3. 3.FH EberswaldeEberswaldeGermany

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