Baboon Population Ecology

A pair of baboons rests on a sleeping cliff as the sun sets over the Tsaobis riverbed In summer 2015, I spent three months in the Tsaobis Nature Park, on the fringes of the Namibian Desert, collecting data on Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus) behavior and population ecology. Work schedule involved daily hiking in the Tsaobis riverbed and surrounding hills following one of two habituated baboon troops. Researchers worked in pairs to perform individual focal sampling, scan surveys of activity and ad libitum collection of social interactions. Each of us spent a whole month learning how to correctly identify each of the 90+ adult baboons that made up the two troops. Once a month, we conducted vegetation surveys to assess food availability and feces collection to analyze parasite loads.

The Tsaobis Baboon Project is a long-term study conducted by the Zoological Society of London. You can learn more about it on their website.