CITES: Appendix II
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IUCN Red List: T. gelada: LC
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Key: LC = Least concern
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)
Photo: Kalle Stolt
Within Ethiopia, geladas are protected in the Simien Mountains National Park,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and hunting of the species is forbidden within its
confines (Dunbar 1993a; Oates 1996; http://www.unesco.org). For the most part
however, this park exists more for the conservation of the extremely rare Walia
ibex (Capra walie) than specifically for the gelada (Dunbar 1993c). However,
human densities on the Ethiopian plateau are among the highest in Africa and as
a result there is a high potential for conflict over habitat (Dunbar 1993a).
Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation
Threatened and actual habitat loss seriously endangers the gelada. A main
threat is the use of its preferred habitat for agriculture. So extensive is
agricultural production that in some areas were farmland is at a premium, slopes
that are too sleep for plowing are cultivated by hand. As preferred habitat is
destroyed, geladas will likely have to move to more marginal areas, reducing
their population densities (Dunbar 1977c).
Geladas are also potentially threatened by global climate change
predominantly due to their attitudinally restricted habitat. If global
temperature rises, the altitude at which the montane grasses grow that provide the
gelada diet would increase and eventually gelada habitat would cease to exist.
As an example, if global temperature were to rise 5°C (9°F), gelada
populations would be reduced by two-thirds, due to a reduction in extent of
habitat (Dunbar 1998).
Threat: Invasive Alien Species
The deforestation of certain areas near gelada habitat has indirectly
threatened the species. This is due to the replanting of quick-growing,
non-native Eucalyptus globules trees, which do not retain soil as well as native
species, inhibit the growth of grass, and actually increase topsoil loss (Dunbar
Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)
In past centuries and even recently, male geladas were killed by indigenous
pastoral groups to procure their manes for ceremonial headdresses. These culls
remove only adult males from the population, altering species reproductive and
social dynamics (Dunbar 1977c; 1993a). Hunting of geladas for bushmeat is rare
due to orthodox religious beliefs of many local groups living in proximity to
geladas (Hunter 2007).
Owing to their specialized diet, geladas do not usually crop-raid and this
fact may help reduce persecution by humans (Dunbar 1993a). However, in times of
drought or other exceptional circumstances, geladas will raid cropland if
necessary, especially around harvest time (Dunbar 1977c). In most cases
however, if confronted by farmers, geladas will retreat and will not continue
feeding, perhaps lessening conflict (Dunbar 1977c).
LINKS TO MORE ABOUT CONSERVATION
Content last modified: September 3, 2008
Written by Kurt Gron. Reviewed by Robin Dunbar.
Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2008 September 3. Primate Factsheets: Gelada baboon (Theropithecus gelada) Conservation . <http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/gelada_baboon/cons>. Accessed 2014 September 22.