The striking and unmistakable gelada Thercopithecus gelada is the most common of Ethiopia’s endemic large mammals speiceies. The male gelada is spectacularly handsome and unmistakable beast, possessed of an imposing golden mane and hear-shaped red chest patch. This patch is thought to serve the same purpose as the colourful buttocks or testicles found on the most African monkeys that don’t spend most of their life sitting on their bums!

The gelada is the only mammal endemic to Ethiopia that cannot to some extent be regarded as endangered. This singular primate is unique in that it feeds predominantly on grass, and it is probably the most sociable of African monkeys, with conglomeration of 500 or more regularly recorded in one field. It has a harem-based soical structure that is regarded to be the most complex of any animal other than humans.

The gelada is disturbed throughout the northern Ethiopia highlands, where it is generally associated with cliffs and ravines. You are bound to see gelandas if you hike in the Simien Mountains, which forms the species’ main stronghold. They are also often see in the vicinity of Ankober, Debre Sina, and Debre Libanos, and at the Muger Gorge near Addis Abeba.

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