Ethiopia: Simien Mountains NP – Morning with Gelada Baboons

Gelada baboons are endemic to the Simien Mountains and are found almost nowhere else in the world (just a couple mountainous spots just beyond the park boundaries in Ethiopia). They are actually not baboons, but a distinct species of primates in its own genus. They live at high elevations, mostly 12-14K feet, are herbivores and grazers and are highly social. They are often called “bleeding heart monkeys” for distinct chest coloration. Morning is perhaps the best time to observe them – Gelada baboons typically sleep on steep cliffs or rocky outcroppings at night and they typically leave their sleeping areas in the morning, climb onto the escarpment ledges, groom themselves for an hour or two, before moving to grasslands to forage for food. They spend most of the day eating, grooming, and socializing with other members of their group.