Two juvenile gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) at rest in a heather (Erica spp.) bush.
This photo was taken on the slope near their sleeping cliffs in the central Ethiopia highlands. Geladas spend each evening/night perched on these cliffs in a bid to avoid predators.
These monkeys, technically not baboons as they are not in the genus Papio, are endemic only to Ethiopia and are found in high altitude regions with suitable sleeping cliff refuges. The Great Rift Valley, which runs North-South through Ethiopia, creates many such habitats.
The global (i.e. Ethiopian) gelada population is on the crest of a precipitous decline due to pressures of habitat loss, human encroachment, and climate change. The species population was estimated at about 500,000 in the 1970s (see Dunbar), but more recent estimates put this number closer to 20,000 or below. The future of specialist species such as geladas (and their co-endemic canid pals, Ethiopian wolves) are increasingly in trouble as the biosphere continues to irrecovably shift in response to the influence of human activities.
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