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Gelada Baboons and Ethiopian Wolves Have Symbiotic Hunting Relationship

National Geographic

Gelada baboons in Ethiopia have found a great way to avoid being eaten by the Ethiopian wolf. 

A new study by researchers from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire has found that gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves have a symbiotic relationship that keeps baboons off the menu.

The Ethiopian wolf is one of the rarest canids in the world. Due to habitat destruction and disease there are only 300 believed to be left in the wild. They mainly feast upon rodents and other smaller animals, which is the key to how the relationship with the geladas works.

Gelada baboons live in large numbers of the Ethiopian highlands where they feast upon the grasses, flowers, herbs, and roots of the grasslands. While they forage through the grasses they inadvertently run out subterranean rodents that hide among the tall grasses.

While hunting, the wolves will wait near the baboons and catch the rodents that scurry out from the grasses in which the baboons are foraging.

The team of researchers followed the baboons around for several years studying the odd behavior. From the wolves’ non-threatening behavior, the baboons began to trust the canids and allow them to hunt near where they were foraging.

Without the presence of the geladas, the wolves only had a 25 percent chance of successfully hunting the rodents. With the gelada baboons help, the wolves’ chances of getting a meal soared to 66.7 percent.

This is a great example of not taking more than one needs. The wolves are content with their rodent meals and hopefully won’t consider tasty baboon meat. As long as the wolves don’t get greedy this symbiotic relationship in Ethiopia’s Gaussa Plateau can continue and thrive.

Plus, baboons are known to be quite vicious themselves so they would be sure to put up a fight if the wolves overstepped their boundaries.

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Gelada Baboons and Ethiopian Wolves Have Symbiotic Hunting Relationship