Sometimes referred to as the BLEEDING-HEART MONKEY or the GELADA BABOON (they are not baboon, although closely related to baboons)

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Geladas are only found in the grasslands of the Semien Mountains in Ethiopia. Their territories are lined with rocky cliffs, where they sleep at night, and are mostly filled with grassy meadows, with the occasional bush or tree marking the environment. The species is divided into two gelada subspecies—the northern and southern gelada, respectively—although there are so few differences between the two groups (i.e., the northern gelada have a bigger, rounder skull) that some researchers question if they should be classified as two separate subspecies.

  • Geladas are nicknamed bleeding-heart monkeys for the hourglass-shaped patch of skin on their chests
  • Although closely related, they are not baboons
  • Terrestrial monkeys, they graze 10-hours per day to compensate for the nutrient-poor grasses that are fundamental to their diet
  • They sleep huddled on chilly rock cliffs at night to avoid predators
They are considered to be widespread and abundant in their range

Geladas are threatened by habitat loss. Their range is being eroded by agricultural expansion due to increasing human population densities. Gelada populations are decreasing.

  1. Geladas live on rocky cliffs that are filled with grassy meadows. They have very specific environmental needs that cannot be replicated or met in human living conditions.
  2. Geladas are large and strong! And they have formidable canine teeth that could inflict considerable harm.
  3. To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  4. When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
  5. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  6. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
  7. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  8. Geladas belong with other geladas in the Ethiopian highlands. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the GELADA Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
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