Who We Are
Brief introduction to the Baboon Research Unit.
The Cape Peninsula Baboon Research Unit is a collection of scientists focusing their research on baboons of the Cape Peninsula and surrounding areas. This research encompasses various aspects of baboon biology, including ecology, behaviour, genetics and evolution. Much of this research focuses on comparing the Cape Peninsula population to other baboon populations and studying the relationship between the Peninsula baboons and their human neighbours. Current research topics include ranging patterns, habitat use, effect of human habitation on baboon behaviour and ecology, parasite transmission between baboons and humans, population genetics, and male and female reproductive strategies.
The Cape Peninsula baboon population consists of 11 troops, distributed from the Tokai Forest in the southern suburbs of Cape Town down to the Cape of Good Hope Section of the Table Mountain National Park. These troops vary in size from about 7 individuals to over 100. The baboon population is under increasing pressure from human habitation, which has decreased and fragmented the baboon habitat in the Peninsula, and conflict between humans and baboons is prevalent. Part of our goal as a research group is to contribute information on baboon biology that will aid in baboon conservation and management.
The research of the BRU encompasses the following general areas:
- Behavioural Ecology — Feeding ecology and activity patterns.
- Spatial Ecology — Habitat use and ranging patterns.
- Social Behaviour — Grooming patterns and social relationships.
- Genetics — Population genetics and kinship.
- Physiology — Hormonal correlates of behaviour.
Research conducted by the BRU informs management of the Cape Peninsula baboon population. Significant interaction with humans characterizes most of the baboon troops of the Cape Peninsula.
Through collaborative research, we aim to gain insight into baboon biology and behaviour while contributing positively to baboon management in the South African Cape Peninsula.