Primate Research and Conservation

To study and conserve two primates endemic to Ethiopia


The Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) and the Arsi gelada monkey (Theropithecus gelada unnamed sub-species) are two little known, endemic and enigmatic primates of Ethiopia. They are currently threatened by human activity, extensive cultivation, human settlement, grazing, predation, habitat destruction and hunting, as they are considered as crop pests. Therefore, the population status, ecology and population genetics of these monkeys should be studied to devise a management plan to conserve the monkeys and their preferred habitat.


The objectives of this project are to determine the taxonomy, distribution pattern, habitat use, population status, feeding ecology as well as activity and ranging patterns of Bale monkeys and the Arsi gelada monkey.


  • To revise the taxonomy and determine the population genetics of Bale monkeys and the Arsi gelada monkey sub-species.
  • To monitor the distribution pattern of Bale monkeys and the Arsi gelada monkey sub-species.
  • To determine the comparative ecology of bamboo forest habitat specialists with the non-bamboo inhabitants of Bale monkeys.
  • To study the evolutionary adaptation of non-bamboo forest Bale monkey inhabitants.
  • To provide the population size of Bale monkeys and the Arsi gelada monkey sub-species, and determine their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • To examine the habitat use, feeding ecology and activity and ranging patterns of the Arsi gelada monkey sub-species.
  • To identify the social organisation of Bale monkeys and the Arsi gelada monkey sub-species.
  • To suggest management actions and sustainable development programmes for the conservation of the two species/sub-species of monkeys and their habitat.
  • To examine the magnitude of human–wildlife conflict that exists between the populations in natural bamboo forest habitat in the Bale Mountains, and those in degraded and bamboo-less habitats in Sidamo.


WAZA Conservation Project 10021 is implemented by Addisu Mekonnen from the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, in collaboration with Prof. Afework Bekele, Prof. Nils Chr. Stenseth and Dr. Peter J. Fashing and with support provided by Primate Conservation Inc., Conservation International Primate Action Fund, Conservation des Espèces et des Populations Animals, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz, Le Conservatoire pour la Protection des Primates, Columbus Zoo, Idea Wild, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, People's Trust for Endangered Species Worldwide Fund and Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust. Other stakeholders involved in the project include the University of Oslo, California State University and the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority.




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    (1) © Anagaw Atickem, (2) - (4) © Addisu Mekonnen