Brief Introduction by Researcher
Over the course of the next two years, with permission from the Zambian Wildlife Authority, the Zambian government and the Kasanka Trust, I will be undertaking a field research project on Kinda baboons in Zambia. I will follow one group of baboons in Kasanka National Park and gather information on friendships between adult males and females. I hope that over this time I can share with you the unique personalities and interesting traits of each baboon and keep you up to date on my research findings thereby allowing you to take part in my exploration and adventure. Stayed tuned for upcoming articles including…
Do baboons really have friends?; The function of grooming: much more than hygiene; Elephants and baboons friends or foe? ; and Why does everyone want to hold the baby baboon?
Is a Kinda baboon just a baboon?
Absolutely not. There are at least nine species of baboon in Africa, three of which we have here in Zambia.
The chacma baboon, the yellow baboon, and the Kinda baboon. Recent research by my professors and I have found that the Kinda baboon is distinct in its genetics, its physical characteristics’, and most interestingly in its behavior. Although the Kinda is different until now it has remained unstudied.
The Kinda baboon is found in Angola, the southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Its appearance most closely resembles that of yellow baboons however in many ways it is unique. Kinda baboons are slender, small baboons. A typical baboon males is twice as big as a female. In contrast, Kinda males are the size of chacma females and are much closer is size to their female counterparts.
Kindas have a distinct crest of hair or mohawk on the top of their heads, pink skin around their eyes, and unlike the black newborn infants of other baboons Kindas give birth to white infants.
My initial research on the behavior of Kindas shows that male Kindas behave very differently than other baboons. Usually male baboons pay little attention to female baboons. They show interest in females only when they are reproductively receptive.
Amazingly, Kinda males appear to be extremely affiliative to females in all reproductive states, grooming them often and protecting their infants. Why this is we have yet to uncover.