Olive baboons are crafty animals found in many places in Uganda making them one of the primates that frequently interact with humans. Scientifically known as Papiocynocephalus anubis, Olive baboons are one of the adaptable of most ground-dwelling primates and thrive in several habitats hence can survive in any habitat so long as there is a water source and safe sleeping place with either tall trees and cliff faces.
These primates were listed under IUCN’s Red List of least Concern species and are widespread and abundant but always persecuted as crop raiders and there are no serious threats said to be resulting to their wide range population decline.
When water is readily available, Olive baboons drink every now and then yet can thrive for longer periods by licking the night dew from their fur. These primates are not only intelligent but very cunning. They generally have more than 30 vocalizations that range from grunts, screams to barks while the non-vocal gestures are lip smacking, shoulder shrugging as yawns among others.
Generally, there are two common species of baboons-Yellow and Olive baboons found within the East African region but the former are the common ones in Uganda, Central and western Kenya as well as Northern Tanzania.
Olive baboons are identified by their slender and lighter skin color and are known for their dog-faces while the yellow baboons have flexible noses that easily turn up more than that of the Olive baboons.
Olive baboons are omnivores but selective feeders that will carefully choose what to feed on. However, grass makes up the largest portion go their diet as well as tree barks, berries/fruits, leaves, seeds, roots, pods, blossoms and different plant varieties. Beside the plant material, these primates also consume small quantities of meat, insects, shellfish, other primate species especially the Vervet monkeys, small and young antelopes, birds and hares among others.
They display a high degree of sexual dimorphism with the males identified by their manes, size, weight and canine tooth size. Males measure approximately 70 centimeters tall when standing whereas their female counterparts measure an average height of 60 centimeters.
It’s not a surprise that they are one of the largest primate species with only the Mandrill and chacma baboons being of the same sizes. Average body weight for both sexes is from 10 to 37 kilograms with the males weighing averagely 24 kilograms and females being about 14.7 kilograms although there are some males that have weighed up to 50 kilograms.
Just like other baboons, the olive baboons have elongated dog-like muzzles with tails measuring from 38 to 58 centimeters. Surprisingly, their tails look as if they are broken and are erect from the first quarter after which they drop down sharply.
There are several baboons but the Olive baboons are found within strip of 25 equatorial African countries, ranging from the East to the west coasts of the African continent and inhabit different habitats ranging from savannah, grasslands, open woodlands, rain forests to deserts. As for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, these primates live within the thick tropical forests.
Female baboons are sexually mature at 7 to 8 years while the males reach maturity from 7 to 10 years. The start of ovulation is a gesture to the males that females are ready for mating and these primates tend to mate promiscuously.
Their lifespan is 30 years in the wild and more in captivity and are surprisingly the friendliest known primates towards humans.
The main predators of the olive baboons are humans and due to this, they always found within trees and usually escape through undergrowth. The Males usually confront predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs by forming a line and strutting in a threatening manner while baring their big canines and screaming. They are known to be fierce fighters although show that so as to put the predators on the run.