Baboons are African and Asian Old World monkeys belonging to the genus Papio, part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. There are five species, which are some of the largest non-hominid members of the primate order; only the Mandrill and the Drill baboons are larger.
Baboons range in size and weight depending on its species.
In Africa, the Guinea Baboon is 50 cm tall and weighs only 14 kg while the largest Chacma Baboon can be 120 cm and weigh 40 kg.
A group of baboons is collectively called a troop or congress, and more recently a flange.
Five species of Papio are commonly recognized. They are
• P. ursinus (Chacma Baboon, found in southern Africa),
• P. papio (Western, Red, or Guinea Baboon, found in the far western Africa),
• P. hamadryas (Hamadryas Baboon, found in the Horn of Africa and south-western Arabia),
• P. anubis (Olive Baboon, found in the north-central African savanna) and
• P. cynocephalus (Yellow Baboon, found in south-central and eastern Africa).
Many authors distinguish P. hamadryas as a full species, but regard all the others as subspecies of P. cynocephalus and refer to them collectively as “savanna baboons”.
All baboons have long dog-like muzzles, close-set eyes, heavy powerful jaws, thick fur except on their muzzle, a short tail and rough spots on their protruding buttocks, called ischial callosities. These calluses are nerveless, hairless pads of skin that provide for the sitting comfort of the baboon.
Most baboons live in hierarchical troops. Group sizes vary from 5 to 250 animals, depending on specific circumstances and time of year.
The structure within the troop varies considerably between Hamadryas Baboons and the remaining species, sometimes collectively referred to as savanna baboons.
The Hamadryas Baboon often appear in very large groups composed of many smaller harems (one male with four or so females), to which females from elsewhere in the troop are recruited while they’re still too young to breed.
Baboons feed on vegetables, fruits and in extreme circumstances they are predators. In Rwanda Akagera National Park in the East has a large number of baboons.