Papio ursinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Cercopithecidae

Scientific Name: Papio ursinus (Kerr, 1792)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Chacma Baboon
French Babouin chacma
Spanish Papión Chacma
Simia hamadryas ssp. ursinus Kerr, 1792
Taxonomic Source(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. and Wilson D.E. 2013. Handbook of the Mammals of the World: Volume 3 Primates. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Taxonomic Notes: Grubb et al. (2003) listed two subspecies: P. u. ursinus (including P. u. ruacana) and P. u. griseipes. Groves (2005) listed P. u. ruacana from northern Namibia and Angola as a valid subspecies, but Grubb et al. (2003) considered it to be questionably distinct.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M. & Hilton-Taylor, C.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread, abundant, and there are no major threats believed to be resulting in a range-wide decline of the species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges all over southern Africa, up to the Zambezi valley (and including south-west Zambia; see Ansell 1978), Caprivi, and southern Angola littoral. Altitudinal range is from sea level to >2,100 m

There are two subspecies: P. u. griseipes occurs in south-west Zambia, Botswana (Okavango Delta), Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, south of the Zambezi; P. u. ursinus occurs in the remainder of the range, in all provinces in South Africa and throughout Namibia.
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Botswana; Lesotho; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is common and widespread. Densities can range from 3 or 4 up to 40 per km² in some protected localities.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Chacma Baboon occupies all types of woodland, savanna, steppes and subdesert, montane regions (such as the high elevations of the Drakensberg), Cape Fynbos and Succulent Karoo. Cliffs, hills or large trees are necessary night-time retreats. In some habitats, such as in the Namib Desert, habitat choice is infuenced by predation risk. This species is totally dependent on drinking daily, and water availability limits its overall range in Namibia. However, one troop in the Kuiseb Canyon, Namib Desert, balanced its water requirements with moisture from nearby plants and conserved water by resting and sleeping during the hottest part of the day. Through this adaptation to their arid environment they temporarily overcame restrictions imposed by the need for regular drinking and were observed to survive without water for up to 11 days and even longer. In dry localities, artificial water supplies have allowed substantial expansion of territority. This species is an opportunistic omnivore, and shows a local preference for bulbs, shoots, roots, seeds, or fruits. Invertebrates, small vertebrates, seashore life, fungi, and lichen are eaten as and when available. Occasionally, they may take small antelopes or the young of species like Impala Aepyceros melampus. Crops (maize, tomatoes, citrus and root crops) are raided in settled areas. Lambs and small stock are taken in some ranching areas.

Troops average between 20 and 50 animals, but may total up to 130 individuals. Multi-male hierarchies are normal, though smaller troops may only have a single male (in one study in the Drakensberg, one-male groups made up 50% of groups recorded above 2,100 m).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species, although problem animals may be shot as vermin. Animals are also hunted locally as parts of dead baboons are offered for sale in markets in South Africa for traditional medicinal use, but this is not considered a major threat

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed under Appendix II of CITES. Occurs in numerous protected areas across its range.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: To clarify the population density.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes

Bibliography [top]

Ansell, W.F.H. 1978. The Mammals of Zambia. pp. 73-74. The National Parks and Wildlife Service, Chilanga, Zambia.

Groves, C.P. 2005. Order Primates. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 111-184. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Grubb, P., Butynski, T.M., Oates, J.F., Bearder, S.K., Disotell, T.R., Groves, C.P. and Struhsaker, T.T. 2003. Assessment of the diversity of African primates. International Journal of Primatology 24(6): 1301-1357.

IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.

Rathbun, G.B. (subeditor). 2005. Macroscelidea. In: J.D. Skinner and C.T. Chimimba (eds), The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 3rd edition, pp. 22-34. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Citation: Hoffmann, M. & Hilton-Taylor, C. 2008. Papio ursinus (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T16022A99710253. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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