The Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) is one of the two most common primates found in South Africa and is distributed exclusively throughout southern Africa including Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. They are known for their huge canine teeth, and with big males reaching nearly 100 pounds they can be formidable adversaries and never go down without a fight.
Chacma baboons organize themselves into troops consisting normally of 30-40 individuals though troops as large as 200 have been known. Unlike what might be expected, baboons do not live in trees. They spend most of their time on the ground. The only time they go into trees is to escape predators (lion, leopard, hyena, and sometimes caracal or python), get food, or spend the night. Tall rocky outcroppings are a favorite spot for spending the night.
Chacma baboons are unique in that all members of the troop are related in some way. They can live to be 45 years old (rare in the wild). Baboons are diurnal and constantly on the move. The dominant male will be in advance of the troop movement followed by the dominant female; subordinate males provide flank and rear security. Being omnivorous and opportunistic baboons eat a wide variety of food: fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, grass, eggs, and smaller animals. They have been known to hunt but are generally considered scavengers.
Baboons are quite social in nature. They have a few different vocal ways of communicating, along with the visual behavior that usually accompanies it. The sharp “bark” of the baboon is one of the signature sounds of the wild African bush. They revel in the good times, and comfort in the bad, offering one another companionship and support, strength and protection. We have a few resident troops on Doornkom Game Reserve. During the day they wander over a large area searching for food, but during the night they consistently return to their “safe place” where they feel safe and secure.
Baboons are creatures of impressive intelligence and fearless when protecting their troop. Observing them interacting among themselves as well as with other species has brought hours of interesting viewing to our clients and visitors to Doornkom Game Reserve. This species has stood the test of time, showing strength and resiliency. They have survived droughts, habitat invasion, and a host of predators through vigilance, adaptation, and unification. These traits are traits we like to see within the safari industry; traits we admire and strive to achieve within our own safari company. Thus, we are quite proud to adopt the image of the Chacma Baboon as representative of our company.