Gelada Baboon

(Theropithecus gelada)




Facts about this animal

Adult male gelada baboons have a long, heavy dark cape. Both genders have an hourglass-shaped area of bright pink skin on the neck and chest. The color and size of this patch is dependent on hormonal changes in the females. The male is almost twice as big and more colourful than the female.


When they feed, they sit down, rather than standing up. Their thumb is highly opposable and together with their short index finger, they can form a precise tweezer grip to pluck grasses and strip them of seeds. The gelada eats mainly grasses, eating all parts: leaves, seeds, roots.

Did you know?
That as the only grass-eating primate, geladas spend more time feeding than any other? In fact geladas graze up to 60 per cent of daylight hours. They spend so much of their time sitting, plucking grass that their sexual is very different from that of other baboons: Both sexes have on their chests a patch of pink skin which changes colour and condition as hormone levels fluctuate.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Theropithecus gelada
Name (English) Gelada Baboon
Name (French) Gelada
Name (German) Dschelada
Name (Spanish) Gelada
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by



Range Eritrea, Ethiopia
Habitat Montane habitats including scrubland, grassland and rocky areas
Wild population Approx. 200,000 individuals (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 154 registered by the International studbook (end of 2004), 109 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Gelada Baboon


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 33 or 34 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by

Why do zoos keep this animal

Gelada baboons are classified as belonging to the "lower risk" category and building up reserve populations is currently not necessary. They are thus primarily kept for educational purposes and as ambassadors for their montane habitat. Nevertheless an International Studbook has been established already in 1990 under the WAZA umbrella, and coordinated conservation breeding programmes are operated at the regional level by AZA and EAZA.


Gelada baboons are occasionally kept in mixed exhibit together with mountain ungulates, such as Nubian ibex.