The effects of nutritive food on the yellow baboon community

07 June 2010

By Lazaro George, Guide - Greystoke Mahale

Yellow baboon is one of the primates species found here in Mahale Mountain National Park. This primate lives on edges of forest, basically at the lower altitude of the Mahale Mountains, which were the areas the local people lived and cultivated Palm Oil Trees before they were relocated to areas adjacent to this protected land. The Palm Oil has a lot of uses to local people. They are used as a commercial plant; whereby the oil extracted from palm oil nuts was sold to neighboring communities in the mainland.

When this part of the Mahale Mountains was developed into a National Park, Palm Oil trees were not cut down and neither were they protected against wild animals as it was when they were under human custody. The palm oil trees then, turned to be one of the exclusive main food sources for a few primates. Palm oil nuts are a favorite of the Yellow baboons, and the free access to palm oil nuts by yellow baboon following gazette of this area has led to dramatic increase in their population density. The increase has been correlated to free access to nutritive palm oil nuts and for not been killed by local people as vermin animals as it was the case before the area was gazetted.

In 1970s to early 1980s there were about two troops of yellow baboon within the M-community chimpanzees territory. Now the troop sizes and numbers have increase. For instance now, there are about five troops of yellow baboon within M-communities chimpanzees territory compared with the 1970s.

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